Settled Handscomb dominates Roses clash |


Settled Handscomb dominates Roses clash

Australia's middle-order man hits 86 in derby clash as he continues to impress at Yorkshire

Peter Handscomb's decision to work on his game in England is continuing to pay dividends after the Victorian top-scored for Yorkshire against Lancashire in England's domestic one-day cup on Monday.

Teaming up with his captain Gary Ballance (85), Handscomb made a big impression in the always fiercely fought Battle of the Roses, making 86 from 78 balls with eight fours and two sixes.

The 143-run partnership for the fourth wicket was the backbone of the Yorkshire innings, which tallied 9-296 and proved more than enough as they proceeded to bowl out their rivals for 217.

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After a Test debut in the summer and a stunning run-scoring streak against South Africa and Pakistan that saw him head to India with an average of 99.75, Handscomb came back to earth on the subcontinent during a challenging series.

The unorthodox right-hander reached 10 in seven of the eight innings in which he batted but only passed 25 once, making a defiant 72 not out on the final day of the third Test in Ranchi to keep Australia in the series and exhibit the sort of skills-set that had him earmarked for a long future in Baggy Green.

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Since arriving in England, Handscomb has scored 277 runs at 39.57, and while yesterday's innings was against the white-ball, the 26-year-old is continuing to familiarise himself with foreign conditions.

"There's always pressure when you go to another club as an overseas player – I know I felt it even when I was playing club cricket when I was 19 and again when I was playing for Gloucester, so there's always expectation and with that comes the pressure," Handscomb told this week.

"But often you just put that pressure on yourself, so I've just been trying to focus on working on my game and have a performance that influences the matches.

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"I'm not here to win every match for Yorkshire, I'm here to help them get a Championship, get some silverware each year, and if I can influence each match in a positive way I feel like I've done my job."

Handscomb's decision to ask Indian Premier League franchise Rising Pune Supergiant for a release from his contract was a bold one, but his logic appears sound.

"I spoke to my manager and the coach at Pune, Stephen Fleming, and just said the truth, that this was what I was thinking of doing, (whereas) if I was in the IPL, again it would be a great experience but I feel like I'd be sitting on the bench mainly for two months given that Pune have a really strong side," he explained.

"So I didn't really want to miss out on the opportunity to keep playing cricket – especially playing for a Division One team in England.

"It just seemed to be the right option."

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And while the Ashes forever looms large on the cricket horizon as the pinnacle of the sport for the countries involved, Handscomb said this present stint is less about the series two years away and more about refining his game for the various conditions he could confront before that time comes.

"Playing Division One cricket in England is a great learning curve, especially for the Ashes in 2019, but that's not really something I'm thinking about now," he said.

"I think what it does do is, when I go back to Australia and a wicket is seaming around a little bit, I'll hopefully have an understanding of what to do considering I will have had a full season in England.

"Knowing you've done that before gives you that self-belief."

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