Star allrounder Will Sutherland's decision to pick cricket over football could pay dividends sooner than even he expected after the 17-year-old was added to Victoria's JLT One-Day Cup squad.
Cricket Victoria confirmed Sutherland has been drafted into the Bushrangers squad as a replacement for young batsman Will Pucovski, who suffered concussion symptoms after their 11-run defeat to Queensland on Saturday.
Victoria could hand a domestic debut to Sutherland, who is set to sit his year 12 exams next month, for Thursday's match against South Australia at North Sydney Oval.
The teenager had been touted to be a potential top-10 Australian Football League draft pick but turned his back on footy in July and took up a contract with Victoria.
The son of Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, Will Sutherland co-captained the Australia Under 19 team earlier this year and struck 55 for his Premier Cricket side Prahran on Saturday.
Speaking to the media last week, Sutherland said his focus was on Australia’s Under 19 World Cup campaign early next year and pushing his case for a Futures League match once his exams were over.
Pucovski has been ruled out for Victoria’s final two JLT Cup group-stage matches but he could feature if the Bushrangers make the finals should he be given the all clear from subsequent concussion testing.
The 19-year-old right-hander was struck on the helmet while batting in Victoria's match against Queensland and was later found to have concussion symptoms.
The Bushrangers defeated the Cricket Australia XI by seven wickets on Tuesday at Hurstville Oval.
Sutherland, who turns 18 later this month, last week suggested it had been a difficult decision to choose between a career in football or cricket.
"I've loved footy and cricket equally and would look forward to the upcoming seasons," Sutherland told reporters.
"I loved the experience of going to the footy national championships.
"I had no idea what I wanted to do so I was going in there with open interest.
"But the passion and friendships in cricket - I've been in that environment for a long time - so that got me over the line I guess.
"There was a bit of media stuff. I just ignored that I guess and just focused on trying to win games (of football).
"There was good support from both the cricket environment and the footy environment as well."