Will Pucovski has been released from the Australian squad.
Will Pucovski has been released from the Australian squad. DARREN ENGLAND

Cricket Australia need to be gentle with Pucovski

If writing a book on how not to handle the immediate future of Will Pucovski, then Australia's cricket selectors must be in line for this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Pucovski is a richly talented 20-year-old batsman who would seem destined for national honours in the longer form of the game.

That's where he looked destined two weeks ago when selected for Australia's Test squad to play against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.

With four openers in the squad - Joe Burns, Marcus Harris, Matt Renshaw and Usman Khawaja - the expectation was Pucovski would bat somewhere in the middle order.

I say "somewhere" because batting positions in our Test side are akin to a lucky dip.

Just ask Marnus Labuschagne, who in seven innings has batted 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Two weeks later and Pucovski has returned to Melbourne with "well being" issues, as announced by Cricket Australia on Friday night.

Power brokers within Victorian cricket urged CA not to make any statement in respect to Pucovski's mental health, which plays out in the form of anxiety.

Anxiety can be borne from being on the cusp of Test selection, only to have that honour denied after a bolter in Kurtis Patterson scored two centuries in a trial game against the weakest international attack to visit these shores, not to mention fielding standards unbefitting of a park team.

Patterson will find his way to England, while Pucovski sits in the twilight zone.

Once he didn't get chosen for that first Test, he should have returned home rather than stay and cop an ear-bashing by Australian coach Justin Langer.

Ordinarily you want a youngster to experience the dressingroom at Test level, but Pucovski is not an ordinary case

He's a perfectionist who has the highest standards and desires, one who may deem non-selection as a form of failure.

Cricket Victoria has worked hard to provide a comforting environment for their young prodigy and CA should learn more about that process

News Corp Australia


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