It’s time for Peter Handscomb to step up
Updated: Apr 22, 2019
The right-hander who made a stellar start to his career has lacked consistency.
After a brilliant start to his test career on home soil, it is fast becoming time for Peter Handscomb to stand up as Australia face the prospect of back to back series losses on the sub-continent.
Handscomb’s first four test matches on home soil produced 2 fifties and 2 centuries, and Australia looked to have found a middle order batsman with reliability and runs.
Although unorthodox against the pacemen, with little footwork and a tendency to play very late, his play against spin can be a joy to watch.
However on the tour to India only on one occasion did he manage to get passed 25. In the seven times he was dismissed, all seven were to spinners.
Handscomb looked classy at the crease against Bangladesh, but after making a couple of starts, once again he was dismissed without going on with the job. Out of the 9 times he has been dismissed on the sub-continent, 8 scores have been between 15 and 33. A stat that would have him feeling like he has missed out on making significant team contributions.
His one lone quality contribution, a match saving 72* in the 3rd test against India, showed all and sundry how good he can be on turning wickets. His footwork is as good as any, and his willingness to leave the crease is always there, but to date in his last 5 tests on testing sub continent wickets, the big scores have not come.
If Australia was winning test matches, more time could be afforded to a player who is still relatively new to test cricket. However Australia have lost 3 of their last 5 tests, and a series. Another series loss will be deemed unacceptable.
With Matt Renshaw also finding his feet, Hilton Cartwright in only his second test, and Glenn Maxwell not proving to this point in time to be a genuine test cricketer, Australia have already become over reliant on contributions from Steve Smith, and to a lesser extent Dave Warner.
The time has come for Peter Handscomb to stand up and turn his obvious quality against the turning ball into real runs that can help Australia level the series.