Peter Handscomb eager to emulate Ajinkya Rahane's back-foot play
Over the last ten years, the Indian Premier League has provided an ideal platform for the top international cricketers to learn from one another. Operating in an era which is defined by conditions rather than class, it becomes imperative for the modern-day batsman to keep improving myriad skills if he is to overcome the vagaries of pitches outside his comfort zone.
In such regard, Australian batsman Peter Handscomb is a rare breed. At a time when most of his peers are quite content on amassing swathes of runs on home soil, he is striving hard to make a mark in dry and dusty pitches of the subcontinent.
Handscomb is currently on tour in India with Australia 'A' team. He is aware that the trip assumes a lot of significance in his bid to seal a spot in the Australian side for the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE.
In order to enhance his ability against the turning ball, the compact right-hander is keen on emulating Ajinkya Rahane's technique. He is particularly eager to replicate the Indian batsman's back-foot play against spin.
During the 2016 IPL season, Handscomb played alongside Rahane for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). Although he only got the opportunity to feature in two matches, the Victorian feels he has gained a significant amount of experience from his stint.
Handscomb affirmed, "I played in the IPL a couple of years back with Ajinkya Rahane. I love how he plays, he has the ability to play spin off the back foot really well. I’ve watched him, had a couple of chats with him during that time, and I think he’s a quality player, and someone I’ve tried to emulate on occasions."
Contrary to pre-series expectations, Steven Smith's Australian team put on a creditable performance in the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Indian soil. During his team's competitive 1-2 series defeat, Handscomb showcased his potential by scoring an unbeaten 200-ball 72 in the drawn encounter at Ranchi.
The 27-year old's crucial 82 at Chittagong helped Australia come from behind to seal a series-levelling victory in Bangladesh. He attributes those game-changing knocks to the influence of erstwhile Indian all-rounder and spin consultant Sridharan Sriram.
Handscomb said, "(Sriram) is one hell of a batter and bowler in his own right. He knows what to look for, and he’s been helping all of us learn how to sweep, use our feet, play off the back foot. He watches each batter separately, understands that we’ve all got different techniques and different ways of playing certain shots. And then he finds their strengths and tries to teach that, coach that."