Peter Handscomb has set his sights on a top-order spot at the Hobart Hurricanes after signing a two-year deal with the BBL franchise.
The Victoria captain has played for the Melbourne Stars since the inaugural 20-over competition in 2011/12 but wasn’t offered a contract for the upcoming summer.
Handscomb said he spoke to several teams late before settling on a move south.
“It was a really, really tough decision,” he said on Wednesday.
“It came down to … potentially being able to bat higher in the order and giving myself the best chance to showcase what I can do in T20 cricket and not just be pigeon-holed into that middle-order role.”
Handscomb was the Stars only remaining player from the first BBL season.
Last tournament he averaged 31 at a strike rate of 129 for the Stars, who finished runners-up, and batted at No.5 in the final behind dynamos Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.
“They’ve got an amazing group of players and it starts to become hard to fit everyone in,” Handscomb said.
“I’ve got absolutely no hard feelings against the Stars.”
The 29-year-old, who said a long-term goal is to return to the Test side, looms as a key part of the Hurricanes following the retirement of George Bailey and departure of South African import David Miller.
The BBL season is slated to begin on December 3 but Cricket Australia has conceded the schedule could change because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia may be required to select larger squads for the summer and place them into hubs, potentially keeping more players than normal out of the BBL.
Matthew Wade and D’Arcy Short have formed a formidable opening combination for Hobart but coach Adam Griffith said Handscomb brings versatility.
“(We have) a pretty strong top order that we’ve had for a while now but that could be dictated by Australia selection,” Griffith said.
“We’re not limiting anyone in our battling line-up to positions.”
Handscomb has played 40 internationals across the three formats but wasn’t part of Australia’s preliminary 26-man preliminary squad for the current England white-ball tour.