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Handscomb hits one-day form in England

Peter Handscomb is on top of the Royal London Cup run tally Getty Images

He is not part of Australia's squad for next month's Champions Trophy, but Peter Handscomb could hardly be doing any more to ensure he is the first man called upon if Australia need a replacement player. On Sunday at Headingley, Handscomb plundered 140 off 112 deliveries for Yorkshire, his maiden one-day century, and in doing so jumped to the top of the Royal London Cup run list.

In five innings during the tournament, Handscomb has made 46, 86, 47*, 88 and 140, the kind of form that will appeal to Australia's selectors should any of their batsman be ruled out of the Champions Trophy, to be held in England, due to injury. Handscomb played the first five ODIs of his career during the southern summer, but after 82 on debut did not reach double figures again.

"Any time you get dropped from a team there's going to be some disappointment, but I was able to see where the selectors were coming from," Handscomb told radio network RSN. "I only got my opportunity because Chris Lynn got injured during the summer and I was able to come in for him. He's now fit and ready to go for Champions Trophy, so it makes sense to bring him back in and I completely understand that selection.

"Just being in the country, I'm here and ready to go if anything does happen. But the Champions Trophy squad is unbelievably strong. Hopefully for the boys nothing does happen and they can have a great Champions Trophy."

Handscomb has enjoyed a remarkable start to his Test career: it took until his eighth innings before he was dismissed for less than 50, the longest such stretch from debut for any player in Test history. Although life became a little tougher on the tour of India, an unbeaten 72 in the second innings in Ranchi helped Australia grind out a draw and was described by captain Steven Smith as being "worth 150 in my eyes".

Next summer, he faces the challenge of helping Australia regain the Ashes in a home series against England, and he is confident that his winter placement with Yorkshire will help him when the Australian season comes around.

"It's very important. I've often found that when I have been able to play cricket matches over the Australian winter, I've been able to come back and hit the ground running during the Australian summer," Handscomb said. "It's good just to constantly play cricket and that time in the middle is so valuable and so much better than just hitting balls in the nets."

And although Handscomb's form for the time being is outstanding, he is well aware that the relentless nature of the county season can mean that any dip in productivity can be difficult to remedy.

"With the county season, it can be sort of one way or the other," he said. "If you can get yourself onto a bit of a roll, because there is so much cricket, you can find yourself feeling really good out in the middle and hopefully converting that into runs. But on the flip side, you don't get a lot of time to practice if you are out of form. If you're having a tough time out in the middle, you don't really get any time to work on it.

"The job is to make runs every time you go out to bat. Once you start thinking that batting becomes easy, then that complacency sets in, and cricket's a bit of a fickle game like that, it can really take you down if you do start getting a bit complacent."