'Keeping Handscomb could free up spot: Gilly | cricket.com.au

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QANTAS TOUR OF BANGLADESH 2017

'Keeping Handscomb could free up spot: Gilly

16 August 2017

Wicketkeeping great says giving Handscomb the gloves in Bangladesh could allow Australia to field an extra bowler

Legendary wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist has suggested Australia could hand Peter Handscomb the gloves for the Bangladesh tour in order to squeeze in an extra spinner. 

Gilchrist, who was on Tuesday night inducted as the Lord's Taverners' national ambassador, said sidelining Matthew Wade for the Qantas Tour of Bangladesh was a "realistic proposition" made possible by Handscomb's quality as both a middle-order batsman and a wicketkeeper. 

But Gilchrist said Wade remained an important part of Australia's long-term plans and would continue to improve if backed at the selection table.

Intra-squad report & highlights: Head tons up after Warner blow

Handscomb hit an assured century in Australia's intra-squad practice match in Darwin this week, then backed that up with a long stint with the gloves for the "David Warner XI". 

The intra-squad selection carve-up saw the Victorian keeping to Australia's likely first Test spin attack of Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar, as well as firebrand quick Patrick Cummins. 

Best bits from day two of Aussie intra-squad match

"It's just about balance and what you think is the right balance to get the Test match victory in the conditions you're going to," Gilchrist, who presented Handscomb with his maiden ODI cap in January, told News Corp at the Sydney function.

"The opportunity to play the extra spin bowler, and if you can do it not necessarily at the cost of one of your seamers or an out-and-out batter, it becomes a realistic proposition.

"He's certainly very, very capable with the gloves and a foundation of having been a junior wicketkeeper is going to help him in regards to if he's going to have to do any long stints with it.

"If he's saying he's keen and available and happy to do it that tells me he feels he can because he's got no need to justify his position in the team as a batsman. He's doing that well and truly."

May: Handscomb smashes 76-ball county century

Handscomb has with varying regularity kept wicket at domestic level in T20, one-day and first-class cricket, while he stood in for an ill Wade during the Sydney Test against Pakistan in January. He also took the gloves in two one-day internationals in New Zealand following a back injury to Wade.

"It's an interesting one," Handscomb said of how he viewed the role of wicketkeeper in his skillset.

"I was doing some white-ball keeping for Yorkshire in England as well. Ultimately I'm happy to do it if it's good for team balance, if it opens up a position for another bowler or batter to come into the side.

"But first and foremost I've always said that batting is my number one (priority), and 'keeping plays second fiddle."

Gilchrist delivers Handscomb his maiden ODI cap

That awareness of team balance is what excited Gilchrist and with Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim already flagging the Australians will be presented with wickets prepared to heavily favour the locals' spin strengths, adding a third spinner could be viewed favourably by Australia's selectors. 

Handscomb went a long way to easing fears he could handle the dual role with his knock in Darwin, an assured knock of 105 from 130 balls full of sweeps and swift footwork that showed he has learned the lessons from March's Border-Gavaskar defeat.

Quick Single: Australia's 150kph workhorse primed 

"I felt really good in India, getting starts, getting into the game but just not converting as many times as I'd hoped to," the 26-year-old said this week.

"So when I got in (on Monday), I wanted to make sure I got used to batting long periods of time, getting used to making those big scores."

Australia's third dedicated spin option in the Bangladesh squad is young Queensland leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, whose 13 wicketless overs on Monday were punished for 94 runs, mainly by Handscomb. 

Any move to leave Wade sidelined would be a shock, and Gilchrist said Australia's selectors clearly valued the incumbent gloveman who has won widespread plaudits for his improved keeping.

Handscomb, Wade dominate in the field

"(Handscomb is) an option, but they've invested a lot of time, effort and energy into Wadey in getting him back into the team," Gilchrist said.

"Clearly they find him an important part of it with what he brings.

"From Matt Wade's perspective, if he can get a really good run of it, just consistently being picked and being given confidence that he's in the team and he's the keeper, he'll just continue to improve."

Quick Single: Haddin salutes Wade's super stumping in India

Austalia's new fielding coach, former wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, last week gave his backing to Wade as Australia's No.1 gloveman.

"I thought Wadey did an outstanding job over in India," Haddin told the Big Sports Breakfast radio show. 

"He got some really ordinary wickets to keep on, and I think his keeping has come a long way.

"He's really looking forward to another challenge in Bangladesh, which will be another really hard tour for a keeper.

"(Wicketkeepers) have to be accountable as a batter as well now, it's more picking the best package these days."

Australia in Bangladesh 2017

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade.

Bangladesh squad (preliminary): Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Mahmudullah Riyad, Liton Kumar Das, Mominul Haque, Mehedi Hasan, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Subhashish Roy, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sanjamul Islam, Mosaddek Hossain Saikat, Mohammad Saifuddin, Anamul Haque, Abul Hasan Raju, Al Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Muktar Ali, Tanbir Haider, Saqlain Sajib, Shafiul Islam.


11-17 August Australia pre-tour training camp, Darwin


18 August Australia arrive


22-23 August Tour match,Fatullah


27-31 August First Test, Dhaka


4-8 September Second Test, Chittagong



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