Sheffield Shield 2016-17
Wade backs Vics gun for Test call-up
Peter Handscomb's state skipper has endorsed him for higher honours ahead of Australia's third Test against South Africa
15 November 2016, 08:30 PM AEST
Victoria captain Matthew Wade has implored national selectors to consider Peter Handscomb for a Test call-up as Australia seeks a solution to their batting woes.
The 25-year-old right-hander has struck two half-centuries for the Bushrangers in the two Sheffield Shield matches this summer and has long been touted as a prospect for higher honours.
And after Australia crashed to an innings defeat at the hands of South Africa in Hobart on Tuesday, Handscomb could be considered for a berth in the middle-order for the third Test in Adelaide.
With South Africa having already wrapped up the series, several batsmen around the country will have the opportunity to stake their claims for selection in the coming round of Shield fixtures.
Victoria, who are chasing a three-peat of titles, travels to Sydney to face archrivals NSW on Thursday on what is expected to a spin-friendly SCG wicket.
Handscomb hammered 784 runs at 43 last season, including knocks of 112 and 62 in the win over SA in the final.
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“I think Pete’s done plenty enough to get picked for Australia,” Wade said on Tuesday.
“His record’s been really good over the last three or four seasons. He is arguably one of the best players of spin we’ve got in Australia.
“You could pick most players out of our line-up and put them in the Australian team and they’ll do a job for you.”
Australia’s incumbent one-day international wicketkeeper, Wade will also be looking to push his case for higher honours.
The 28-year-old last played a Test in March 2013 and averages 34.61 from 12 matches with the bat, but he suggested his work behind the stumps has improved.
“I feel like over the last couple of years my glovework’s got a lot better than what it was when I got dropped out of the team,” Wade said.
“I’ve worked hard on that and held my spot in the one-day team as the wicketkeeper.”
The Bushrangers’ skipper also backed Peter Siddle to return to the Test team after his latest injury setback.
The paceman was ruled out of the second Test against South Africa with a back injury, paving the way for Joe Mennie to make his debut in Hobart, after snaring three wickets in the series opener in Perth.
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“I think he’ll play Test cricket again, for sure,” Wade said of the 31-year-old veteran of 62 Tests.
“He gets knocked down a lot and gets back up.
“He’s so positive. He was here the day after he got the news about his back. He gets around the boys.
“I think he just loves playing cricket and loves being around his teammates.”
Victoria is one of three undefeated teams after two rounds of the Shield season, with South Australia and the Blues also boasting perfect records.