Neigh worries: Australia batsman Handscomb overcomes fear of horses

SHOWS:

NEAR MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA (APRIL 23, 2020) (CRICKET AUSTRALIA - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN CRICKETER, PETER HANDSCOMB, SAYING ON OVERCOMING HIS FEAR OF HORSES:

"The strangest thing… Well, I guess, so my wife has four horses and in seven years I have refused to get on them out of sheer - scared of the size of them and all of that. So, the other day I actually decided, 'right it's time'. So, I jumped on a horse and Sarah my wife led them around and we basically just went out for a little walk and it was delightful."

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

2. VARIOUS OF HANDSCOMB IN NETS DURING TRAINING SESSION DURING THE 2019 WORLD CUP (2 SHOTS)

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN CRICKETER, PETER HANDSCOMB, SAYING ON WHETHER T20 WORLD CUP WILL GO AHEAD:

"I guess looking at that, I kind of look at what other sports are trying to do at the moment and it is great to see the football codes in Australia are looking at getting back to at least training soon and then they are going to try and start their seasons at the end of June, start of July kind of time. So, if that does go ahead that can set a real good precedent of sports in Australia coming into our summer this year. Obviously, they're teams that are in Australia it might be different with international travel and trying to bring international teams into the country. But I think it's quite a positive step that we are now talking about sport being played again this year and relatively soon."

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - JULY 10, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

4. VARIOUS OF HANDSCOMB PREPARING TO BAT (2 SHOTS)

5. WIDE OF AUSTRALIA PRACTICE

STORY: Saddled with plenty of downtime during the coronavirus shutdown, Australian cricketer Peter Handscomb has used home isolation productively by overcoming a life-long fear of horses.

Despite being married to Sarah, an eventing rider, the test batsman had never dared mount a horse until being locked down at their rural property near Melbourne.

"So the other day I actually decided, 'Right, it's time.' So I jumped on a horse, we basically just went for a little walk and it was delightful," the 28-year-old Victorian told reporters in a video conference on Thursday (April 23).

With virtually all domestic and international cricket suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 16-test right-hander has little idea when he will be able to pad up again, so he has been trying to keep fit with trail runs in the suburbs, some yoga and Pilates.

Australian cricket has been hit hard by the shutdown, with governing body Cricket Australia furloughing nearly 80% of staff to shore up finances.

Players also face pay cuts, which could be steep if Australia is unable to stage the Twenty20 World Cup in October or welcome India for a lucrative test series in the home summer. But Handscomb said he was confident that international cricket would be in a position to resume on Australian shores later this year.