Handscomb to feature and Stoinis fit to play against England

By Sports Desk July 09, 2019

Peter Handscomb is a certainty to be in Australia's XI for their Cricket World Cup semi-final showdown against England, according to head coach Justin Langer.

Handscomb was called up to Australia's squad as a replacement for Shaun Marsh after the left-handed batsman broke his arm in a training session, though is likely to have to step in for Usman Khawaja – who has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a hamstring strain.

And Langer has full faith in Handscomb to deliver at Edgbaston on Thursday, despite having missed out on the initial squad.

"I'll tell you the truth. Peter Handscomb will definitely play, 100 per cent" said Langer. "He deserves it.

"He was unlucky not to be on this tour, he was so unlucky not to be in the initial squad after what he'd done to get us to that point.

"He's in good form, he played well for Australia A, gives us that nice balance in the middle order. He's got good temperament, he plays spin well, he's on top of his game, so Pete will definitely play."

Handscomb praised his coach's alternative methods on Monday, after Langer instructed Australia's players to walk around the outfield barefoot to 'earth' themselves ahead of the game, and Langer revealed it was a habit he and former opening partner Mathew Hayden used to practice.

"What was it called?" asked Langer. "I don't know what you call it, we just took our shoes and socks off and walked a lap of the oval.

"It's a nice thing to do, it's a nice place to be. Haydos and I used to do it, just as a bit of a ritual before every Test match."

While Handscomb will definitely feature, Marcus Stoinis will also be fit to play after recovering from a side strain sustained against South Africa.

"He looks good," Langer said of Stoinis following Wednesday's net session in Birmingham.

"It was a very good nets actually, there was a bit of heat in there again and it was very competitive and that always brings the best out in Stoinis, so he did a good job and he's fit to go."

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