Image courtesy of: Zimbio
After only four matches, Australia batsman Peter Handscomb is already standing tall in the Test arena, like a mighty gladiator.
Averaging a shade under 100, the 25-year-old enjoyed a prolific summer on home soil and is one of the players to watch out for in the upcoming tour of India.
Given the fact that Handscomb already has two centuries and two fifties to his name in the longest format, and one half-century in ODI cricket, his stock continues to soar through the roof.
The Melbourne native would have been able to continue making his presence felt at the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April, but he opted not to be retained by the Rising Pune Supergiants in order to hone his skills by playing a full season of county cricket in England with Yorkshire.
Handscomb represented the Supergiants in just two matches last year and admitted he was grateful that the franchise had released him so that he could play county cricket.
“I obviously had a good time with Pune last year and it was very nice of them to release me this year and allow me to go to Yorkshire,” Handscomb said in Pune, which will be the venue for the first Test between India and Australia on Thursday. “And that was it, I wanted to get over there and play Division One county cricket for a full season and get used to what happens in England and try and figure out a way of playing over there.
“You go to the tough places and play the best players in the world in either spin bowling or seam bowling and it’s a great challenge. You want to do it.
“You want to get over there and test yourself in the hardest conditions and if you come away from it relatively well then you can hold your head up high, and know you can compete with the best in the world.
“I see myself as a longer format player, so sitting on the sidelines in the IPL for me wasn’t going to be great practice. Especially after I’d spent two months (on the current Test tour) in India already playing in these conditions.
“So to get over to England and test myself in those conditions but also play games I thought was a much better move.”
As for who convinced him to give up the glitz and glamour of the IPL for the hard work that is associated with county cricket in England, Handscomb revealed that it was none other than former Australia opener Chris Rogers.
“I worked that one out myself,” Handscomb said. “Chris has obviously spoken very highly of going over there and playing county cricket in England and he’s done it for many years.
“It shows because when he comes back he plays really well in Australia, and then when he goes to England he knows those conditions really. So it would be good to practice in all conditions, all year around.”
With Handscomb having grabbed the headlines with his fantastic start to Test cricket, he is now determined to cement his place in the Test squad. Not only that, but he also wants to be promoted up the batting line-up and be amongst the top four batsmen. A strong showing in the four-Test series against India could very well make both those dreams come true.
“I want to try and bat in the top four (in Test cricket) and to be able to keep and bat in the top four, I think, is an extraordinarily hard job,” he said. “I know (former Sri Lanka captain Kumar) Sangakkara tried to do it and couldn’t do it, so if he can’t I dare say I probably can’t either.
“I just want to be a batsman, and then keeping is something that’s been there that can get me a game.”