Peter Handscomb puts his hand up for keeper-batsman role in white-ball cricket

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23 Apr 2020 | 08:23 AM
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Peter Handscomb puts his hand up for keeper-batsman role in white-ball cricket

The Aussie wicketkeeper-batsman shed light on a number of topics in this detailed interview



Australia, Victoria and Middlesex's Peter Handscomb, earlier in the day was on a video conference taking questions on different topics. Here's the entire interview.

What's your thoughts on events that has happened in the last week in the Australian cricketing world. Any feelings gauged from your team-mates - either in Victoria or Australia - on the said events?

Handscomb: I guess the main thing about what's going on at the moment is that, the players are partners in this game with CA. We want to try and work through whatever is going on together. That's where the revenue-share model comes in. From a player's point of view, we are happy to help out when times are bad and when times are good, it works for our good as well. At the moment, we are sitting and waiting to see if any more information is coming out of CA and when does that come, we can try and help solve any problems that are going on.

Is there a sense of unease among the players or are they open to this, knowing that this is fairly unprecedented situation the world finds itself in?

I think the players definitely understand that this is very unprecedented. We haven't seen something like this for a very long time, definitely in the current era. We understand that things are pretty different, like I said we are happy to help out and once more information does come through, we can do everything to help the game.

It appears that the CA is in a pretty difficult financial position at the moment, even though not a whole lot of cricket has been lost yet, are you disappointed to see how bad things are already?

I wouldn't say disappointed mate. It's our job or from our perspective, where the cash flows and the cash reserves from CA aren't our position. That's not what we are looking after or a part of. It's completely up to them, they are the ones to look after it. All we can really do is keep sticking to the MOU if times are bad and the players take a hit as well if it goes up. There's not a great deal we can do at the moment because we don't know all the ins and outs of what's going on.

A couple of questions about Middlesex if that's ok. What's the current status of the two-year deal you signed with the county?

 As far as I understand, it's pretty much just on hold. A month ago, they said they will look to start cricket at the end of May, start of June, but given the situation, especially in England, that looks unlikely but I haven't heard any updates since. I have been talking to Middlesex each week and the players, to get an understanding of how they are feeling during these times and what they are doing to keep themselves entertained, busy and not getting stuck in a rut too much. In terms of the contract, it's kind of on hold at the moment. I've got next year as well, but this year, kind of playing it by the ear. 

As captain of Middlesex, what kind of conversations have you had with your team-mates?

We've had a lot of conversations during the Australian summer. I was quite lucky to meet a few of the Middlesex boys as well who were out in Melbourne and Sydney playing some local cricket. So got a good feel for the club, got an understanding of how the boys want to play their cricket and got a good idea of the direction we want to go in to make Middlesex as strong as possible.

County cricket is well populated by the Aussies. Have you spoken to any of the Aussies, Michael Neser's contract with Surrey is unfortunately not going to go ahead. What kind of a blow is it to Australian cricketers who don't operate at the highest end of international cricket when potentially lucrative contracts like this come to an end?

I haven't spoken to Nes (Neser) or even Nathan Lyon is with Hampshire, I'm not sure what's going on there. It's a shame to not be able to go over there and play. Australians love going over to England to play county cricket, it's a way of developing our game and making ourselves better and understanding different conditions as well. That's a shame but a bigger picture at play here and the world essentially is much more important and that's something's we wait and for and see how we go.

How are you keeping yourself going during this time?

Basically just going for runs, trying to find a couple of new trials around the house, around the suburbs where we can get outside and go for a run. I tried to grow my grass out at the backyard to be absolutely perfect, but in doing that, I killed about half of it, so I've got to work on that a little bit - that's keeping me entertained. In terms of my body, it's home pilates, home yoga, doing some body weight stuff and running, all pretty simple but it keeps the mind and body ticking over.

As a state delegate, you are quite involved in the ACA stuff, can you see anyway that CA get to ask players to take a paycut on top of the revenue-share model, if the revenue drops, you are going to have less money anyway. Is there a way around this?

I don't really know. I'm not privy to a lot of those conversations even being a delegate, as players we trust the ACA and what they do for us. There are other things in place before we get to a players paycut and the revenue-share model and there's a few other ones as well. It's backing ACA and once we get that information from Cricket Australia then we will be able to make a more informed opinion and we can know more about what we can do. 

What's been the feedback you've got from your team-mates as a state delegate?

They are just unsure. They don't know exactly what's going on. They are asking a lot of questions and I'm trying to help out with a few answers but pretty much I have to call the ACA as well. They are the ones who are explaining to us. Players know a fair bit, but we trust the ACA and what they are going to do for us and they are the ones that know more than I do.

It's a week out from the contract deadline - that date has been pushed back already by the CA. Are you concerned about information not being provided and if the delay drags on, what sort of damage will it cause to the game?

I don't think that will damage the game too much. The deadline's there and I'm sure CA will get the appropriate information to the right people at the right time. It's about it happening and when it does, we can do everything we can to help the game to the best of our ability and where we see it growing and being good for everyone that is involved in this great game.

How does this compare to the pay dispute in 2017, how much concern is there about CA's role in the game at the moment?

There is concern as it is unprecedented times with this pandemic. Players don't know, it's tough from CA's point of view as well. We don't have an understanding of what cricket might be played in the future, what sport might be able to played and when. A lot of unknowns at the moment, which can be scary for everyone. It's not just cricketers, it's everyone around the world that is concerned and worried about their jobs and where they are going to be in a week, two weeks, a month.

Wanted to pick up on something Adam Gilchrist said a couple of days ago - about cricket using this time to potentially get back to basics. One of the things he mentioned was a reduction in the number of support-staff that travel with the national team. What's your point of view as a player if that does happen and how will things change?

One of the views about going from state land to playing for Australia is, you do get access to more facilities and one of those facilities are coaches. They are able to give you data that you haven't seen before, footage that you haven't seen, ask different questions of you but also help you out at training. It's really good that when you go up to the Australian level, you get all these extra people but in terms of cutbacks, that's not my role. I'm not sure who in CA's eyes would be the ones to go. They are all pretty vital people.

What's the strangest thing you have done or might do during this period?

My wife has four horses. In seven years, I have refused to get on them, scared of the size of them and all of that. The other day I actually decided it's time to jump on a horse and my wife Sarah led me around and we went for a little walk and it was delightful.

You had a taste of IPL a few years back. Are you prepared to push your dual role as a wicketkeeper and as a batsman to make yourself more marketable to scouts or coaches in the IPL?

I have always pushed my role as a keeper and batsman in white-ball cricket. In red-ball, I'm pretty happy to just be a batter, because I want to bat in the top 4 and keeping for an entire day seems way too long. It's probably going to hurt too much, yeah but white-ball cricket, all for keeping, all for the dual role to help with any potential scouts going over there. Essentially for the next two years I'm contracted with Middlesex to play county cricket and I do see my future more in the longer format and one-day cricket rather than T20 cricket. If I do get a chance to play county cricket in the future compared to IPL, it would be interesting. County cricket is something I really enjoy during that time.

Looking back over the last year, not since the last minute callup to the World Cup semi-final, you have managed to play for Australia. How do you sum up the last 8-9-10 months. Any sense of feeling a bit hard done by with the incredible run in the leadup to the World Cup, that you didn't make the initial squad. Any sense of frustration there?

It's cricket mate. There's always going to be someone that feels hard done by with any selection. I'm not the first bloke to miss out on a squad and I won't be the last. I try and push past that and look to what I can do with Victoria and Middlesex if I do get a chance this summer or this Australian winter. To get over there and then push my case to get back in. There's no point feeling frustrated or down because that is cricket. I have been dropped a few times now from the Australian team and there's no point feeling down. 

The next World Cup is in India in 2023 and you are well-known as a good player of spin. Do you think that will hold you in good stead over the next few years?

Last time I played for Australia in India, I did quite well. I was quite happy with that. I made my one-day century as well, so I'd like to think my name is up there but that's also three years away and a lot can change then. We are very lucky in Australian cricket to have such a deep.. a lot of talent in shield cricket and in the one-day game. A lot of young players are coming through and could easily be dominating the game in three years. There's no real point looking that far ahead. I've got to concentrate on the three years before that until the World Cup is right here.

The biggest concern of the ACA is the lack of transparency from the head office as far as the financial situation is concerned. Do you think there will be full transparency from the CA in terms of the financial situation?

I think Cricket Australia will come to the party and provide full transparency. We've always said we are partners in the game and we want to be able to help out in any way possible. And the best way to do that is to have all the information on the table so hopefully that comes in the next few days and as a collective we can work together and try and come up with a solution in these pretty tough times.

Are you confident that the T20 World Cup in October-November will proceed and have you spoken with your team-mates about that?

I kind of look at what the other sports are trying to do at the moment. It's great to see the football codes in Australia are looking to get back, at least to training soon and then they are going to start their seasons end of May, start of June-July kind of times. If that does go ahead, that can set a real good precedent for sport in Australia, coming into our summer this year. Obviously they are teams that are in Australia and it might be different with international travel and trying to bring international teams into the country. It's quite a positive step that we are now talking about sport being played again this year and relatively soon.

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AustraliaPeter Stephen Patrick Handscomb

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