Emerging Australian batting star Will Pucovski turned to a banana to help deal with cramp on a day he tuned up for higher honours by leading his Victorian premier club to victory.
Pucovski, a shock Test inclusion for this month's series against Sri Lanka, stroked an unbeaten 82 from 107 balls in guiding Melbourne Cricket Club to a nine-wicket win over Northcote at the Albert Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Will Pucovski (right) plays for Melbourne on Saturday.Credit:Paul Jeffers
While opening batsman Meyrick Buchanan, another highly touted dasher, crunched a century and Victorian quick Chris Tremain claimed four wickets, it was 20-year-old Pucovski who many at the picturesque inner-city venue came to watch.
He handled both quicks and spinners with typical poise, his toughest moment coming when, on 75, cramp high in his leg prompted him to call for food, for which a banana was promptly delivered.
After an eventful week, Pucovski had little for breakfast and lunch on game day. But he was quick to dismiss fears of a hamstring strain in his first hit-out after a three-week break.
"I stuffed up with my eating because I was in a bit of a rush, it just put me off a bit, first game back. But I will be absolutely fine. I just have to get more food in the system," he said.
The man known as "Puc" soon found his groove, notching his half-century off 50 balls and scoring on both sides of the wicket ahead of his Cricket Australia XI tour match against Sri Lanka in Hobart this week which doubles as a pink-ball warm-up for the first Test in Brisbane.
"It was good to have a hit, good to get back to the cricket rather than selection talk. I have had a fair bit going on. Obviously, all supportive. I really appreciated it. But it was good to get out and have a hit," Pucovski said.
MCC officials remain hopeful Pucovski will debut at the Gabba, with runs against the tourists this week likely to help his cause.
"I think it helps. I have never been really one to worry about selection. I will just go and take it one ball at a time and enjoy the experience," he said.
"If that means a debut in Brisbane, it does. If it doesn't, well, I guess it's just not my time. I will be happy either way."
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