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Handscomb backing Vikings for NatWest T20 Blast honours

— 14 July 2017

Peter Handscomb is backing Yorkshire to go on and win the NatWest T20 Blast, but the Australian Test star admits he is unsure whether he would be able to help the Vikings get over the line.

Overseas ace Handscomb has no doubt the White Rose have the capability to go on and win their maiden Blast title in early September: “Definitely,” he admitted.

Though the Victorian right-hander may not able to play at Finals Day at Edgbaston on September 2 should his confidence be matched by performances on the field during the next month and a half.

Handscomb has been speaking ahead of tonight’s Roses match at Emirates Old Trafford, where Yorkshire go in search of a second win in four North Group matches this season.

They won their first in record-breaking fashion against Notts at Headingley last Friday, posting their highest ever Blast score – 227-5 – and defending it comfortably.

Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out since.

They lost their second game against Derbyshire on Saturday before Tuesday’s washout with champions Northants.

“After that first performance, we know we can score 227,” he said.

“If we play at our best and do that, we can beat any team.

“Hopefully we play like that against Lancashire.

“It was Yorkshire’s record-breaking score, and that’s just awesome.

  • “It’s something we’ve been talking about in the rooms. We’ve been looking at all the statistics regarding where guys bat well and have the most impact. The plan that night worked perfectly.

    “We were unlucky not to go two from two in the second game. We definitely had the chance. Had we fielded or batted better, we’d have won.

    “But you will lose games. T20 is a fickle game. It only takes one player to win a game.

    “Unfortunately we didn’t get the win that day, but it went down to the last ball and was still entertaining to play in.

    “On a different day, Tim Bresnan hits the last ball for four and we’re all cheering and carrying on. There’s no need to worry at all.”

    As things stand, Handscomb is scheduled to leave Yorkshire in early August for a two-match Test tour of Bangladesh with Australia.

    There is a pre-tour training camp pencilled in to start on August 9 in Australia, but all of that may not happen because of the contractual dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association regarding player contracts and revenue sharing.

    It is a dispute which has left the country’s top stars ‘unemployed’ and is even threatening the Ashes series later this year.

    If it is all sorted quickly, Handscomb will miss Yorkshire’s next Championship match against Essex at Scarborough, starting on August 6.

    He could return after the second Test, finishing on September 8.

    But, he admits, anything is possible, and he could yet be with the county for the rest of the summer.

    Handscomb also says it has been easy to play for Yorkshire whilst the dispute has been ongoing.

    “There’s still not a lot of clarity,” he said.

    “There’s still no agreement between CA and ACA. It’s a big few days, and I’ll know more then whether I’m going home or staying.

    “The playing group have 100 percent faith in ACA, our players’ association.

    “They’ve been absolutely amazing, and we know they have our best interests and will be fighting tooth and nail for that, which means we can step away from those discussions and focus on our own games.”

    Handscomb is relishing tonight’s clash against Lancashire, who Yorkshire have already beaten twice this season in one-day and Championship cricket.

    He is no stranger to big crowds – there will be 19,500 in – having played in the Big Bash derby between Melbourne Stars and the Renegades.

    “Hopefully we can complete the set and get wins in all three forms,” he added.

    “The Stars and Renegades is quite a big rivalry. We’ve had 80,000 in at the MCG, which is pretty cool.

    “But it will be a different crowd up North, and I dare say over in Manchester they’ll let us know about it. That’s part of it. It’s going to be awesome.”