AUS v SL 2019: Will Pucovski ready to handle the Test cricket pressures after mental health battle

Pucovski named in the Australian Test squad for Sri Lanka tour.

Will Pucovski earned maiden Test call for Sri Lanka series | Getty Images

Victorian batsman Will Pucovski on Wednesday (January 9) broke into the 13-man baggy green squad for the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka starting later this month, and he would be certainly looked on top and never felt better before.

The aggressive batsman said that he “feels in a real place” after fighting through his battles with mental health issues at the moment and is looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.

Pucovski made his First-Class debut in February 2017, and has notched up impressive numbers in the circuit, amassed 588 runs from eight matches with two centuries and one half-century at an average of 49, as well as, piled up 650 runs at 162.50 in the Under-19 championships and quickly grabbed the attention of the national selectors for the Australia selection.

Following his First-calls debut, the right-hander had spent six months on the sidelines to deal with mental health issues and even after that he was ruled out of Shield action in October last year as well, but now he successfully earned maiden Test call on the back of his domestic show.

The youngster credited mindfulness coach Emma Murray for his mental health and success on the field, saying he loves meditation, which helped him to battle with mental health issues.

Pucovski told cricket.com.au, “I'm feeling really good, as good as I have felt in a really long time. I feel like I’m in a really good space and the people I’m working with think so as well. I am meditating every morning, which I honestly never really believed in until (Emma Murray) got me on to it and things like that have helped me really turn things around. I was able to play that Shield game (last month) and loved every minute of it.”

Meanwhile, Australian chief Selector Trevor Hohns impressed by Pucovski’s rapid rise, saying, “We obviously check on our players these days, we get reports — whether it’s Will or anybody else — medical reports and all reports are that he is fine and available to play.”

Hohns added, “Obviously around the team environment, that becomes a management issue with the coach, team manager, and players around him as well. But right now, we don't have an issue with that at all.”

Commenting on his mental health issue, Pucovski told Fox Cricket podcast, “It was brought on by myself, it wasn’t necessarily encouraged by anyone. It was definitely important for me. I just wanted to get it out there. The main thing for me talking about it, in case there are other people going through it.”

The young gun also revealed that he was completely shocked when he heard about his selection and is looking forward to playing along with Joe Burns, Matthew Renshaw, and Marnus Labuschagne, in next week's tour game against Sri Lanka to stake his claim for Test selection in the series opener.

Pucovski signed off by saying, “My heart probably skipped a few beats. If I get a game it'd be amazing and if not, it’d still be awesome to be part of the squad. Either way, I'm a pretty happy 20-year-old kid today.”

(With Cricket Australia Network/ Fox Cricket Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 10 Jan, 2019

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