Domain Tests v Sri Lanka
Test call-up adds to Will's wild ride
Victorian young gun Pucovski has had a chaotic beginning to his professional cricket career
9 January 2019, 01:12 PM AEST
Victoria batsman Will Pucovski has continued a dramatic start to his cricket career with selection in Australia's Test squad for the upcoming two-match series against Sri Lanka.
Should he debut at the Gabba on January 24, Pucovski, 20, would be the youngest Australian to do so since Queenslander Matt Renshaw, who was today also recalled alongside state teammate Joe Burns in another batting shake-up.
The right-hander has only played eight first-class matches and took an indefinite break from the game in October due to a mental health-related illness.
He returned to the JLT Sheffield Shield in December, making one and 67 for the Vics, and building on a record that already includes a pair of hundreds, most notably a marathon 243 against Western Australia last October that shot him to prominence among cricket fans around the country.
But it was during that match, and since, that Pucovski battled with a mental health issue.
"It was one of those things where what it looked like from the outside wasn't quite matching up with what it was on the inside … I was more confused than at any other time in my life," Pucovski told Fox Sports.
"I was 64 not out overnight if I remember. I got to the game to have my pre-morning hit in the nets and pulled one of the coaches, Lachie Stevens, aside and said, 'Look mate, this is what I'm going through. I don't really understand what's going on and don't know why it's happening but this is what's happening'.
"It was quite a confronting thing but they were beyond awesome about it … They were just so supportive from the outset.
"I actually look back on it and don't have much of a recollection on the innings, which is rare for me.
"Usually I can remember vividly what I'd done, the innings that I had played or the day's play I'd been through.
"In a weird way it felt as if it was a bit of a cheat code. If I could find a way to do this consistently, obviously without the other things going on, it could bode for some success."
Pucovski, who dominated at under-age level before making his debut for Victoria, has also suffered several concussions during his career that have slowed his progression.
He was hit on the head three times last season having also copped a blow fielding at short leg on his Shield debut in early 2017.
All this after a luckless series of childhood blows that included a sling tackle during a schoolyard football match, a ball ricocheting from an adjoining net during cricket training, and hitting his head on a door in his own house.
None of it prevented him from making history with that epic double-hundred, as he became the first batsman to score a Shield double hundred before turning 21 since Ricky Ponting, and just the ninth overall.
National selection panel chair Trevor Hohns said Pucovski will also play in the CA XI warm-up match alongside recalled pair Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns against Sri Lanka with a pink ball under lights as preparation for the opening Gabba Test.
"Will Pucovski is an exciting young player who is making his mark in the Sheffield Shield," Hohns said. "He is another player with a track record of making centuries. We look forward to him joining the squad and congratulate him on his first national call-up.”
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha
CA XI: Joe Burns (c), Kurtis Patterson (vc), Scott Boland, Jake Doran (wk), Jon Holland, Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, Matt Renshaw, Chris Tremain
Jan 17-19: Tour match, CA XI v SL, Hobart (D/N)
Jan 24-28: First Test, Gabba (D/N)
Feb 1-5: Second Test, Canberra