Newly-appointed Melbourne Stars captain John Hastings will welcome Peter Handscomb back with open arms if the out-of-form batsman is dropped for the Perth Test.
The addition of West Australian allrounder Mitch Marsh to the 13-man Ashes squad has fuelled speculation Handscomb could be the unlucky man for the third Test, despite averaging 47 at the level.
“Hopefully he continues to play for Australia and they can go on and win the series,” Hastings told reporters on Friday.
“But if we do get him back that’ll mean we’re at absolute full strength, so for us it’ll be a win.”
Scores of 14, 36 and 12 in the first two Ashes tests have potentially left the 26-year-old’s No.5 spot up for grabs, with selectors exploring the option of playing Marsh to relieve the Australian pace attack on a flat WACA wicket.
Hastings believes the talented middle-order batsman’s resilience would hold him in good stead if forced back to the drawing board.
“For him, he’ll be very disappointed,” he said.
“But he’s the type of character, I know, that’ll bounce back pretty well.”
Should the Ashes selectors decide to send Handcomb home, the Bushrangers skipper would form a devastating T20 tandem with fellow Test aspirant Glenn Maxwell.
The oft-maligned Maxwell hasn’t taken his Ashes snub to heart after posting 278 and 96 in consecutive Sheffield Shield clashes, Hastings said.
“He’s in a really good space at the moment with his life and with his cricket,” he said.
“He’s been very determined … (and) put that aside nicely.
“Fingers crossed for us he’s around for a little while because he is hitting the ball beautifully and I think it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him.”
The Stars will open their BBL campaign on December 20, away to the Brisbane Heat.