Handcomb ‘confident’ of South Africa tour

Peter Handscomb insists he is “confident” of being selected for ‘s tour of South Africa next month and will use cricket’s bite-sized format to reinforce his technique is strong.

Handscomb was dropped after the second Ashes Test in Adelaide for all-rounder Mitch Marsh but remained with the squad. While he was also a part of ‘s recent one-day international sides, he was overlooked for the five-match series against England, beginning at the MCG on Sunday.

He will use the remainder of the BBL season with the Melbourne Stars to continue to prove he does not have any technical issues, for his homespun style, where he bats deep in his crease, was questioned after England spearheads Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad tested him through Brisbane and under lights in Adelaide.

Handscomb found form against the Melbourne Renegades on Friday night, supplying 41 off 37 balls when moved into an opening role. He shared in a 110-run stand with Kevin Pietersen which proved to be a match-winning stand.

The national selectors will later this month confirm what is expected to be a 15-man squad for four Tests in South Africa, with Handscomb – who also keeps wicket for the Stars – firmly in the mix to go as a reserve batsman.

“I am still confident for South Africa but, obviously, that’s completely up to the selectors. Communications have been good, it’s been nice to stay around the group and, obviously, celebrate that Ashes win, too,” he said.

Handscomb, averaging 47.35 in 12 Tests, said he was more than content with his technique.

“I haven’t changed a thing. I have made runs now for three years with this technique. I think it came under scrutiny because it was under lights, pink ball in Adelaide against two of the best bowlers in the world, who have ever played Test cricket. To play and miss was probably fair enough,” he said.

“I am not worried. It was nice to get out there on a good wicket and make some runs and show my technique is fine and I can still make runs.”

He will hope those runs continue when the Stars host the Sydney Sixers on Tuesday night.

The Stars finally tasted their first win in six matches this campaign and will need to win their remaining four, and rely on other results, to have what seems an unlikely chance of making the semi-finals.

“It’s good to get on the board – theoretically we can still make the semi-finals. So watch out, the Stars can be there,” Handscomb said.

“There is no reason why not. A few years ago we had to win five in a row to make the semis. We have to do it this time as well. Cricket is a funny game, you never know.”

Handscomb replaced Luke Wright at the top of the order, with the Englishman battling a bruised lung after falling in his bathroom. Handscomb said he enjoyed opening the batting.

“I would love to stay as opener but it’s what the team needs. Obviously, Lukey has done an amazing job now for six years at the top so I dare say he will come back in and slot straight there,” he said.

Young fast bowler Jackson Coleman (3-27) and leg-spinner Daniel Fallins (0-19) provided a burst of energy the Stars needed but the form of opener Ben Dunk has become a major issue.

He was dismissed for his second duck of the tournament and has only 59 runs at 9.8, with 47 coming in the first derby.

“He came off a good hit a couple of days ago. A nice little 47. He is fine. If he can win us or get us into a good position for three or four out of 10 games, then he has done his job,” Handscomb said.

“He has done it once … hopefully, with four games left, he does it two or three more times.”