‘Lucky’ Handscomb eyes more ODI opportunities

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Handscomb scored a match-winning 82 after surviving a few nervy moments.

Handscomb scored a match-winning 82 after surviving a few nervy moments.
Handscomb scored a match-winning 82 after surviving a few nervy moments.
Australian batsman Peter Handscomb continued the bright start to his international career by compiling another half-century in game three of the series at the WACA on Thursday (January 19). The debutant combined in a match-winning 183-run third-wicket partnership with captain Steve Smith to guide Australia to a convincing seven-wicket victory over Pakistan and a 2-1 series lead.
However, his 84-ball 82 was not quite as effortless like his majestic Test run, where he astoundingly averages nearly 100 after four Tests. In his third delivery faced, having not opened his One-Day International (ODI) account, Handscomb was caught at slip leaving Australia lurching at 3 for 46 having lost a trio of quick wickets. As he trudged off the ground, replays on the big screen confirmed that paceman Junaid Khan had overstepped prompting the WACA’s faithful to roar its approval and ensure Handscomb hadn’t walked off the ground, which would have cost him his wicket.
“As I was walking off I could hear the crowd go nuts and I couldn’t quite work out what was going on,” Handscomb told reporters after the match. “Then I saw the screen and saw the no-ball, lucky I did because it was about three steps before I left the field.”
Paul Wilson, the third umpire and towering former Australian paceman, ran down the stairs in a bid to stop Handscomb from walking off. “Didn’t see him (Wilson)…and he’s a hard man to miss,” Hanscomb quipped.
Immediately after his reprieve, Handscomb smashed Junaid for an all-run four to score his first ODI runs but the struggled continued. The 25-year-old was also dropped on 10 although replays confirmed it would have been a no-ball and he cashed in on those near misses to produce the type of formidable innings he has regularly produced in Test cricket since being drafted into the team two months ago.
Well aware of the good fortune, Handscomb said he was appreciative of the lady luck granted to him. “One hundred percent, I think I need to buy a lottery ticket tonight and go from there,” he joked. “I’ve been working really hard to get everything going to this point, so when I do get the opportunity I try to grab it with both hands. Obviously today was very lucky, from there I was able to play my own game and go about it the way I do.
“There are quality players in the country and I am only here because a few of them got injured,” he added. “If they had been fit then I wouldn’t have been here and this opportunity wouldn’t have occurred. If I keep getting an opportunity in the ODI team then that would be great.”
Handscomb’s selection raised some eyebrows due to a modest 50-over domestic record, where he averages just 31 and has not scored a century. Despite the criticism, which reverberated on social media early in his innings, the Victorian believed he didn’t have a point to prove.
“I’ve felt good throughout the entire summer and I knew if I came out today and tried to play the way the team wanted me to play, then that’s all I could,” he said. “I wasn’t too worried about what had happened in previous years. I understand my One-Day record in domestic cricket isn’t great but to come out here and do everything the team needs, it was great to do it.”
Despite the impressive start, Handscomb believed there were areas he needed to work on if he was to have a prolonged ODI career. “I need to be able to find a way to score off more balls,” he said. “In the longer format, you can let a lot go. You can really wait until the ball is in your zone to hit, whereas here you need to start fabricating a few shots and making a few things up, which I’m working on and trying to score quicker.
“I have to allow my game to develop to allow that to happen,” he added. “It has been a bit of a whirlwind but it’s been awesome.”

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