Peter Handscomb is currently Australia’s best player of spin: Brad Hodge
Peter Handscomb's maiden ODI hundred in Mohali helped Australia chase 359. © AFP

Peter Handscomb has won endorsement from Brad Hodge for his maiden ODI hundred on Sunday in Mohali, with the former Australia batsman terming him the best player of spin in the country after Steve Smith, whose ban will end later this month.

Since being recalled to Australia’s ODI squad for the home series against India in January, Handscomb has scored 73, 20, 58, 19, 48, 0 and a 105-ball 117 in Mohali which kept the visitors in a chase of 359 and underlined his ability to play spin while keeping a sensible head. These traits, noted Hodge, made Handscomb a highly valuable player. (READ: 4th ODI: Turner blasts 84* to power Australia’s record chase)

“His technique was a big talking point in the Australian summer, only because it actually doesn’t look fashionable. We don’t like change, we’re pretty set in our ways as cricketers. Peter Handscomb goes about his work in a completely different manner,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “He was never out of form, he was just put up against a pretty good Indian attack in [Jasprit] Bumrah, [Mohammed] Shami and Ishant Sharma, so he had his troubles but I think he’s fought back.

“He had a pretty good one-day series in Australia and you see how versatile he is. He goes along at a fair click, he doesn’t look like he’s really needing to hit big shots, he runs hard between the wickets and he’s easily our best player of spin behind Steve Smith who cant play [due to his ban]. Absolutely job well from from Peter Handscomb.” (READ: Talking points: Ashton Turner turns it, India keep spilling it)

Usman Khawaja missed a second ODI hundred by nine runs on Sunday.
Usman Khawaja missed a second ODI hundred by nine runs on Sunday. (@ Twitter/Cricket Australia)

Usman Khawaja’s 91 in a stand of 192 with Handscomb was equally vital to Australia’s record chase in the fourth ODI, which Hodge, who played 25 ODIs, said showed why he is the team’s top batsman. Khawaja has made 50, 38, 104 and 91 in four ODIs in India after scores of 59, 21 and 34 in the home series against the same team in January, which were his first ODIs in two years.

“I’m particularly impressed with Usman Khawaja’s play. Just the elegance and style and attack in these last two games, he’s had a pretty good strike-rate as well,” he said. “I like the way he’s come back into this side and filled the void. Going forward, he’s not going to have to press hard to open the batting. At the moment, he’s our No 1 player and deserves his spot.”

The series is level at 1-1 with the final ODI in New Delhi on Wednesday.