Peter Handscomb says he has no plans to dramatically alter his technique after being dropped from Australia’s Test XI, saying he doesn’t believe his approach has changed at all over the last 12 months.
Handscomb was dropped for the third Magellan Ashes Test at the WACA Ground, replaced by allrounder Mitch Marsh.
The right-hander, who is part of Australia’s Test squad for the Qantas tour of South Africa, was dumped after scores of 14, 36 and 12 across the opening two Tests in Brisbane and Adelaide, but remained part of the extended squad for the rest of the Ashes, watching from the sidelines as Marsh cemented his place in the side with centuries in Perth and Sydney.
It followed a quiet start to the summer in the JLT Sheffield Shield, where the Victorian scored 157 runs in six innings.
At the time, a host of high-profile former players were critical of the 26-year-old’s unusual technique, which sees him stand deep in his crease and play primarily off the back foot.
But Handscomb said after reviewing footage, he didn’t believe anything had changed since the previous summer, which saw him score 399 runs in four Tests against South Africa and Pakistan, including tons in Brisbane and Sydney.
"I’ve looked at the footage and basically what I’ve come away with, is I was doing the exact same thing I was doing 12 months ago," Handscomb told SEN’s Afternoons with Andy Maher.
"If I’m being honest (in Adelaide) I was under lights with the pink ball on a green, seaming wicket … I’m not a pretty player by any means and if I start playing and missing can look real ugly.
"But I still did my job and got thorough those tough times, but unfortunately I didn’t go on with it the next day.
"But I’ve been feeling good all summer and I haven’t been too worried about trying to tinker with too many things."
Following that second Test in Adelaide, which saw Handscomb repeatedly playing and missing against England’s pace attack as the ball hooped under lights, former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was among those to question the right-hander’s technique.
"It's very unusual," Ponting told cricket.com.au when asked about Handscomb's technique. "I've never seen it before.
"You see a lot of people finish in that position after they've pushed back from their front foot onto their back foot and finish six inches from their stumps, but I've never seen anyone start there.
"That, in itself, could mean there's some sort of issue going on. I'm not sure what it might be but batting back there he's trying to give himself as much time as he possibly can.
"If he's always done it and that's the technique he wants to stick with that's fine, but when you see him start moving his feet like he did today; one ball (he was) two feet outside off stump, the next ball outside leg stump, that's going to make batting pretty difficult.
"There's going to be a few things there that need to be changed as far as I'm concerned.”
Asked if there was a temptation to listen to the comments made by former players and make changes, Handscomb said he was sticking to his guns.
"It’s not easy hearing such high-profile players, especially guys who have done really well in their own right, tear your technique to threads," Handscomb said.
"But that’s part of professional cricket and a lot of it is self-belief.
"I’ve been making runs with this technique now for three or four years and making quite a few runs.
"I’m not going to be changing massive things off the back of one, one-and-a-half games, so it’s about going back to what I know, making sure my shapes are right and hopefully the runs will come."
Handscomb will captain Victoria in their Sheffield Shield clash against South Australia starting Thursday, before the Australia Test squad head to South Africa next week, where they’ll play one warm-up game before the first Test gets underway in Durban on March 1.
Qantas tour of South Africa
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc.
Warm-up match v SA Invitational XI, Sahara Park, Benoni, Feb 22-24
First Test Kingsmead, Durban, March 1-5
Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13
Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26
Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3