Handscomb well prepared to take heat in the Ashes

18th October 2017 6:25 PM
Peter Handscomb says playing in heat in Bangladesh has prepared him for a hot summer series. Peter Handscomb says playing in heat in Bangladesh has prepared him for a hot summer series. A.M. Ahad

PETER Handscomb left 5kg on the Chittagong pitch but the weight he gained in mental toughness means Australia's middle-order linchpin is undaunted by anything England can offer.

In arguably the toughest batting performance from an Australian since Dean Jones's knock in the 1986 tied Test in Madras, Handscomb defied 40-degree heat and debilitating humidity against Bangladesh last month to make a match-defining 82, dry-retching his way through hours at the crease.

Handscomb said the innings became an out-of-body experience as he blanked out between balls and was only able to hold focus for the duration of the bowler's run-up and delivery.

Fellow Victorian Jones might have been quick to remind Handscomb that it was "hotter in Madras", but the 26-year-old will use his character-building experience to overcome any situation he finds himself in during the Ashes.

"Definitely, just more mentally than anything else," Handscomb said.

"You can always look back on that now and say 'I've done that'.

"If I can survive in heat like that I can survive in heat at the Gabba or the WACA.

"You can draw back on it ... and hope it helps in the future.

"It was just a really weird feeling. As the bowler was running in I was able to concentrate and then once that was done it was like I was going to be sick or a bit dizzy.

"It almost makes you focus more on the ball because you didn't want the weather to be the one that go you out. You wanted to make sure it was a good ball that got you out.

"I wasn't really thinking too much at the time of what it (would do for my career).

"It was just trying to survive and get to the next day because I was hoping I was going to make a lot more runs the next day. That's all I was thinking.

"I don't think I had anything left in the body to throw up. I was trying to take in liquid but the more I took in, the sicker I felt."

Handscomb spent the winter in England playing county cricket for Yorkshire. And with British parents, he is well versed in what to expect this summer.

However, the Victorian captain knows that this isn't just any other series, and is bracing for the added pressures that define the Ashes.

"This is essentially the pinnacle of Test cricket in my eyes,'' he said.

"We're going out there and there's almost that little bit extra on each ball, each run, each wicket.

"But the more you can try and not focus on it as being this big spectacle and just go and play your own game and back our team plan (the better)."

Handscomb is happy to have shown selectors his glovework in a one-off keeping performance for Australia in a one-dayer in India and now wants to focus on the responsibility being a specialist batsman in the Ashes.

"Ultimately my job has been to score runs, first, and I've always said that," Handscomb said.