Peter Handscomb is all set to play for the Melbourne Stars in their Thursday's (December 27) KFC Big Bash League (BBL) 2018-19 encounter against the Sydney Sixers after being released from Australia’s Test squad for the Boxing Day Test on December 26 (Wednesday).
All-rounder Mitch Marsh replaced Handscomb in Australia's Boxing Day XI for the third Domain Test of the four-match Test series to be played from Wednesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
While Peter Siddle, who is yet to feature in Australia XI for the India Test, will not be available for the Adelaide Strikers against the Perth Scorchers on Wednesday.
Having scored 34, 14, 7 and 13 across four Test innings this summer, Handscomb was under pressure, but Captain Tim Paine backed him for the Sydney Test to be played from 1st January, which means he is unlikely for the Stars’ contest against the Renegades to be played at the MCG on the same day.
Paine told reporters on Tuesday, “I'm sure Pete would be upset. I think he's had conversations with the selectors that there are a few things they would like him to work on and Pete is open to that. Pete at his best is going to score a lot of Test runs and not just his batting, he brings a hell of a lot to our side in terms of his fielding, his experience and just the way he generally goes about his cricket. We're sure he'll score a lot more runs for Australia.”
Meanwhile, Handscomb’s presence will be a major boost for the Stars, who finished bottom of the ladder last season, is yet register a win in the ongoing BBL season having lost matches against the Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes against Thunders.
(With Cricket Australia Network Inputs)