Batting at three won’t harm Maxwell’s Test hopes: Handscomb

Victorian skipper Peter Handscomb does not believe batting Glenn Maxwell at No.3 for the Bushrangers will hamper his chances of hanging onto his spot in Australia’s middle order for the upcoming Ashes series.
Nanjing Night Net

Maxwell hit twin half-centuries coming in at first drop against South Australia in a timely return to form after only making seven and 20 against Queensland in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield opener last month.

Debate has been raging over who will assume the No.6 spot in the Australian line-up for the first Test against England starting November 23 at the Gabba, and it is sure to intensify with another full round of Shield matches commencing on Monday.

Hilton Cartwright, Moises Henriques and bolter Jake Lehmann have all been thrown up as possible contenders for the spot, but if it was up to Handscomb, Maxwell would win the race.

“If he can make runs at three, he can make runs at six so that’s not an issue in terms of if he’s in the Ashes,” Handscomb told RSN radio on Thursday.

“It was more just a team balance with the squad we’ve got.”

Handscomb, who has made a dream start to his Test career with an average of 53.07 in his first 10 matches, said he didn’t need to give Maxwell a pep talk in a bid to solidify his spot in the national side.

“Each individual has their own game plans and I’m not going to tell them how to bat because if they try and change too much from what they know, they’re not going to score and that’s pointless for us,” Handscomb said.

“With ‘Maxi’, we just said, ‘mate, just bat. Go out there and enjoy it’. He always makes runs when he comes back to Victoria in the long form, he’s got a great average for us with the red ball so we weren’t too worried and we’ve given him his opportunity at the top and he’s taken it this game which is awesome.”

Meanwhile, Handscomb believes playing against Bangladesh in oppressive conditions on Australia’s recent tour of the subcontinent has served as the perfect preparation for his first Ashes series.

The 26-year-old lost 4.5kg while batting during the second Test in Chittagong as he crafted a crucial knock of 82 in just over three hours in the first innings.

“It does help knowing that I’ve done that, more just mentally. I didn’t carry on. If it gets hot at the Gabba or if it gets hot in Perth, I can just say, ‘well, it’s not like Bangladesh’. So hopefully I carry on pretty well,” he said.

“Being able to play in different conditions is awesome. You find out things about your game, certain weaknesses or strengths that you have in those conditions and then you know that if you come back to Australia and you see similar conditions, you’ve had the toughest of it so hopefully you can come back and do it in Australia.” iFrameResize({checkOrigin:false},’#ashes-squad-selector-2017′);var frame = document.getElementById(“ashes-squad-selector-2017”);

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