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Handscomb won't be Aust full-time keeper

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/02/2017 Rob Forsaith

Peter Handscomb has neither the inclination or intention to become Australia's full-time wicketkeeper, instead wanting to show he belongs as a batsman in Test cricket's ultimate proving ground.

It's a stance that has been applauded by Brad Haddin, the retired stumper who sits fourth on Australia's list of all-time Test dismissals.

Handscomb has taken the gloves throughout this week's ODI series in New Zealand following stand-in skipper Matthew Wade's back injury. The 25-year-old did the same in the SCG Test last month, when Wade was sick.

Selectors opted against summoning a replacement gloveman across the Tasman for the current three-match series.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns indicated earlier this week he'd be comfortable with Handscomb keeping throughout a Test in India, if Wade were to suffer a last-minute setback during the four-match series that starts on February 23.

Handscomb says there is no prospect of him claiming Wade's spot in the XI on a long-term basis.

"It's an absolute honour to put the gloves on for Australia but first and foremost I've always been a batsman," Handscomb said in Hamilton, where the Chappell-Hadlee trophy will be up for grabs on Sunday.

"I was throughout junior cricket, when I was keeping as well. Batting was always my number one, but going away for series and being the back-up keeper, I'm very happy to do.

"It's definitely a little bit of extra pressure, but if that's what the team needs, I'm happy."

Haddin, who has worked with Handscomb in New Zealand and also mentored him last year during an Australia A series, suggested the Victorian was "too good a batter" to be burdened with the responsibility of regular keeping.

It is a fair argument given Handscomb's career is four Tests old and he already has two tons and an average of 99.75.

"He's got the right temperament to stop those collapses that we have," Haddin said in Hamilton.

"He doesn't get flustered at the wicket, he seems to handle the big stage with ease ... he got runs under pressure."

Wade was expected to have scans and a cortisone injection upon return to Melbourne before flying out on Sunday or Monday for a training camp in Dubai. If that departure is delayed it will raise alarm bells.

The back spasms are untimely but Handscomb insisted his state captain would be fully fit for the series opener in Pune.

"Wadey's a strong character and it takes a lot to actually keep him off the park," he said.

"The fact I've had to do some keeping was a fair shock ... I have no doubt he'll be fine for India."

Handscomb dropped a catch in the thrilling series opener at Eden Park, admitting he was "quite rusty behind the stumps".

"I caught maybe 20 balls that morning when Wadey pulled out with about 10 minutes to go until the toss. It was a little bit tough," he said.

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