Chris Waters: Australia’s loss is Yorkshire’s gain in the shape of prolific Peter Handscomb

CLASS ACT: Peter Handscombs omission from Australias Champions Trophy is good news for Yorkshire.
CLASS ACT: Peter Handscombs omission from Australias Champions Trophy is good news for Yorkshire.
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IF you think that Jonny Bairstow is unlucky not to be in England’s first-choice one-day team, spare a thought for Peter Handscomb.

Whereas Bairstow is in England’s Champions Trophy squad but not in their likely starting XI, Handscomb is not even in Australia’s squad.

Anyone who has seen either man play for Yorkshire this season could be forgiven for wondering why.

Just as Bairstow is seemingly reliant on an injury to someone else to force his way in, ditto his county team-mate Handscomb.

The 26-year-old is not in Australia’s first-choice batting line-up and he is behind Matthew Wade in the pecking order of batsmen/wicketkeepers.

However, he could still potentially be called up at the 11th-hour as someone already plying his trade in this country.

You can see that he’s a guy who’s right on top of his game, and who knows his game inside out.

Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale on Australian batsman Peter Handscomb

His form for Yorkshire in the Royal London Cup certainly states a compelling case; Handscomb’s innings in the competition to date are 46, 86, 47 not out, 88, 140 and 9, while he is the club’s leading run-scorer in the tournament.

Handscomb’s Test career took off last winter and his one-day career should soon catch up.

He started it well with 82 on his one-day international debut against Pakistan in Perth last January.

However, his subsequent visits to the crease in ODIs yielded returns of 1, 7 and 0, and he was left out of Australia’s 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy.

It was a decision that he took firmly on the chin and which he has not allowed to affect his natural bonhomie.

For, as with Bairstow, Handscomb is not the sort of character who is inclined to sulk in a corner and accept his fate without a fight.

Indeed, his form for Yorkshire would have been exactly the response that the Australian selectors were seeking from a young man with the international game at his feet.

As with Bairstow, Handscomb is only an injury away from getting a chance, or a loss of form to one of his colleagues.

And with the form that he has displayed in Yorkshire colours, the selectors would surely have no qualms about drafting him 
in.

Aside from Handscomb’s international ambitions, he has certainly proved a more than useful addition to the Yorkshire side.

Last year, the club struggled to find a settled overseas situation with the packed international schedule making it increasingly hard to sign quality players for most of the season.

However, Australia’s schedule is not nearly so hectic this year, and Yorkshire seized their chance to snap up a man who is available for most of the campaign.

As such, the corresponding boost to their prospects does not need emphasising, with Handscomb growing in stature the more that he plays.

So far, he has been a model of consistency and proved a big hit with players and supporters alike.

Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire first team coach, told me: “Peter has been absolutely brilliant. He’s fitted into the dressing room really well.

“You can see that he’s a guy who’s right on top of his game, and who knows his game inside out. He’s very much in the Kane Williamson sort of mould as a character, quite laid-back and pretty mature for a young lad too.

“He looks like he’s enjoying the dressing room, and he looks like he’s enjoying playing for Yorkshire. He is proving a wonderful addition to the team,” explained Gale.

The parallels with Williamson are not unjustified.

Like the New Zealand batsman, Handscomb is a 
class act off the field as well as on it.