County news March 4, 2015

Handscomb set for Gloucestershire stint

ESPNcricinfo staff

Peter Handscomb has had a productive season for Victoria © Getty Images

Gloucestershire have signed Victoria wicketkeeper-batsman Peter Handscomb as one of their overseas players for 2015. Handscomb, who has been tipped to represent Australia, will provide cover for Michael Klinger in the first part of the season and is available to play in all three formats.

Handscomb shares the gloves with Matthew Wade for his state but is likely to play as a top-order batsman at Gloucestershire, who have Gareth Roderick and Cameron Herring in addition to former England keeper Geraint Jones. Handscomb has three first-class hundreds and currently averages 171.00 in T20 - he has only been dismissed once in eight innings, which included a maiden ton in the 2014-15 Big Bash.

His signing is the first at Gloucestershire since Richard Dawson was appointed as the club's new head coach at the start of the year.

"It is brilliant for the club to get Peter for the season," Dawson said. "He's coming off the back of an exceptional season with Victoria in the Sheffield Shield and also in the Big Bash League where he made headlines with his hundred for the Melbourne Stars.

"Peter is a young, exciting player who is highly rated in Australia. The people I have spoken to have all given me very positive feedback on him as a player and as a bloke. At 23 he is a similar age to the rest of the squad and will fit into our dressing room well.

"He will bring positive competition for the batting spots and new ideas from his experiences in Australia. It is a good opportunity for him to showcase his talents in English conditions - especially with Australia over here for the Ashes and we believe we can help him to continue his development."

The 23-year-old has a British passport, due to his English parents, and played 2nd XI cricket for Leicestershire in 2011 but has been registered as an overseas player by Gloucestershire. He could potentially find himself on the fringes of Australia's Ashes squad this summer, with several wicketkeepers vying for the role as Brad Haddin's understudy.

Handscomb said: "It has always been an ambition of mine to play county cricket and I was delighted when Gloucestershire expressed an interest in me joining them. I have heard good things about the players at Nevil Road and I am looking forward to meeting up with them in April."

Klinger has captained Gloucestershire for the last two years but does not take up his contract until June. He will then lead the side in T20 and 50-over competition, with Jones handed the Championship captaincy.