Handscomb had been in excellent touch for Australia of late with the right-hander putting in some good displays in the recent limited-overs clashes against India and Pakistan.
However, Handscomb failed to find a place in Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad announced on Monday as Steve Smith and David Warner made their returns after a one-year absence.
“Selection is always hard, there’s no doubt about that. It’s the toughest part of the job. It has been for as long as I’ve been coaching but certainly last Tuesday was really tough,” Langer told RSN Radio.
“Pete (Handscomb) is terribly stiff to miss out. He’s all class. I spoke to him yesterday. He’s literally all class. He’s another ripper.”
“I can give you all the cliches, I can try to find some good reasons, but the truth is I can’t tell you how close he was to being selected. He had a brilliant time of it. He played exactly the role that we talked about for the back end of the ODI summer and in India and the UAE. He did a great job.”
Langer has backed Smith to perform the same role as Handscomb in the batting order as the former skipper gets ready to mark his national team return after suspension.
“He’s (Handscomb) super fit and a terrific young bloke. He gets on and does his job. But we just felt that Steve Smith would play that same role and Steve Smith is one of the all-time greats of Australian cricket,” the Aussie coach stated.
Australia’s World Cup preparations get underway next month when they take on a New Zealand XI in three unofficial one-dayers. They open their World Cup campaign in England on June 1 against Afghanistan.
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