Peter Handscomb to leave Middlesex with immediate effect

Peter Handscomb pulls Getty Images

Peter Handscomb, Middlesex's club captain, is standing down from his role, and will not return to complete the 2022 season following his involvement with next month's Australia A tour of Sri Lanka.

A statement from the club confirmed that Handscomb would be returning to Australia after the Sri Lanka tour for family reasons, and that Tim Murtagh would be taking over as club captain in both the four-day and 50-over formats.

"We would like to thank Pete for all he has contributed to the club throughout his time with us," Alan Coleman, Middlesex's head of men's performance cricket. "He is a fabulous bloke to have around the dressing room and has led us with distinction this year on the field.

"He is a natural leader and inspires those around him to perform, and many of the younger players within our squad have learned an enormous amount from him during the time he's been at the club."

Despite leading Middlesex to the top of the LV= County Championship Division Two - a position that he helped to consolidate with an unbeaten 39 in their six-wicket win over Durham at Lord's on Sunday - Handscomb's own form has been intermittent, with a solitary half-century in five appearances this season, to go with his average of 17.46 in his seven matches in 2021.

The news follows the confirmation that Shaheen Shah Afridi, Middlesex's other overseas player, will not be returning to the club this season either, due to Pakistan's busy international schedule. The club confirmed that they were in negotiations for a replacement top-order batter for the remainder of the season, and were hopeful of making an announcement in the near future.

"I've really enjoyed my time here at Middlesex and it's been a pleasure to have played with such a great bunch of blokes," Handscomb said. "To have started the season in the manner we have is testament to the amount of hard work the playing group and coaches have put in, and I wish Middlesex every success for the remainder of the season and moving forwards.

"It's been an honour to have been able to call Lord's my home, and my thanks go to everyone at the Club for their support in allowing me to head home to spend time with my family after my international commitments with Australia A."