County Championship 2021
Handscomb searching for end to horror slump
Peter Handscomb opens up with a stark self-assessment as his dream county stint at Lord's has turned into a nightmare run of form
14 May 2021, 11:52 AM AEST
Peter Handscomb arrived in London to captain Middlesex in this season's County Championship looking for the runs that would put him back into the conversation for Australia Test selection – but has started the season in the worst run of form of his professional career.
In six innings as skipper of the Lord's based club, Handscomb has tallied three ducks – including a first-ball dismissal last night – and managed just 31 runs with a top score of 17 for a season average of 5.17.
An absolute ripper from @Kyle_Abbott87! 🎯🔥@Middlesex_CCC 52-3 (24 overs) 📺 Follow the action live at https://t.co/cNkJ7vdkkn or on the free Hampshire Cricket App 📲 pic.twitter.com/xTsdkPuSpO— Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) May 13, 2021
It's the lowest return in a six-innings stretch in his first-class career, of which he is currently playing his 123rd match, and the 16-Test veteran admitted he was in a "dangerous place".
"I sort of feel like I'm searching a little bit to try and find the answer which, when you're doing that you're in a dangerous place and you've got to try and go back to basics and hope that they're good enough moving forward," Handscomb said on RSN Breakfast radio today.
"Golden ducks happen in cricket all the time – you learn to live with them pretty quickly, and you've just got to move on.
"I've struggled in the past going from Australia into England and trying to make runs straight away, and it's sort of happening again this year.
"So it's about trying to find that adjustment in your game as quickly as possible.
"It's a weird one … I feel like I'm hitting the ball OK in the nets and my movements are similar (to the Sheffield Shield season), but after a couple of hits, you know, that self-doubt starts to come back in.
"I haven't done it over here just yet to have those confident knocks to look back on, whereas in Australia if I go through a run slump, I can look back on games and know what I need to do to get out of it."
RAIN DELAY The players are back off for rain with Middlesex 63/3 🏏 In the meantime, take a look at the Payne delivery that saw Handscomb walk for 10 🎥#GoGlos 💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/9nRO8YOMxD— Gloucestershire Cricket🏏 (@Gloscricket) May 6, 2021
Handscomb may be low on confidence right now but his County Championship record is not to be sniffed at. In three previous seasons – with three different clubs – the 30-year-old Victorian has amassed 928 runs at an average of 37.12 in the competition.
In 2015 with Gloucestershire he scored four fifties in piling up 401 runs at 44.55 in six matches, and in 2017 with Yorkshire he scored his maiden and so far only century in England among 441 runs at 33.92. At stint with Durham in 2019 saw him play just two County Championship games but yielded his seventh fifty.
This year, he joined Middlesex for the first season of his two-year deal off the back of a productive domestic season with Victoria that tallied 511 runs at 46.45 in the Shield, and saw him named the state's winner of the Dean Jones Medal for best One-Day Cup player.
With wet weather hampering the start of the English season, Handscomb isn't looking for excuses and is embracing the hectic County schedule as he looks to bat his way out of the slump and put himself back in the national conversation.
"It's pretty relentless here with the schedule; we have a four-day game starting every Thursday, you get Monday off and train Tuesday, Wednesday and start all over again on Thursday," he said.
"It's a good one personally for my career to keep trying to play as much cricket as possible and keep putting my hand up for higher honours if that ever does come.
"I've been pigeonholed into the middle order, either in long-form or short-form, so that's my goal, I've got to keep trying to push for as many runs as I can with Victoria and Middlesex and if at some stage there is that opportunity in the middle order then I'd be jumping at it with both hands if I can.
"The team is pretty set at the moment, there is some pretty good players in there, so you've really got to put your hand up and make a lot of runs."
Middlesex finished day one at 4-90 against Hampshire at Lord's after just 36 overs of the opening day were possible due to rain.