Batting prodigy Will Pucovski will return to the field this weekend for the first time since he was overlooked for selection in the Test XI against Sri Lanka and returned home to deal with mental health issues.
Pucovski will line up for Premier club Melbourne against the Camberwell Magpies at Camberwell Sports Ground on Saturday, having been given last weekend off to celebrate his 21st birthday.
Will Pucovski will be back out in the field this weekend.Credit:AAP
The birthday party, originally planned at the family home, had been scheduled for the weekend earlier with invites sent out well in advance but this had been postponed after it clashed with the second Test in Canberra, where he again missed selection.
was released from the Australian side after day one of the second Test, with a Cricket Australia statement saying he "will return home to Melbourne to continue managing his wellbeing".
"He reported some challenges over the past few days and the decision has been made that the best thing for Will’s welfare is for him to return home to Melbourne," the statement said.
Those close to Pucovski suggested dealing with the sometimes lonely life on the road was more a factor than anything else.
He had originally been selected in a 13-man squad for the two Tests against Sri Lanka and been put up for a media interview, with the indication he would play after there had been major changes in the wake of the losing Indian series.
However, he was then usurped by NSW batsman Kurtis Patterson who, having delivered back-to-back centuries in the tour match in Hobart, was pitched into the Test squad and then into the XI in Brisbane. Pucovski had made 23 and 33 not out in Hobart, although the CA line at the time was that the tour match had not been a "bat-off".
Pucovski's mental battle became public in a Sheffield Shield match in Perth in October when, amid his stunning knock of 243, he notified his family and team of his issues and soon took a short break from the sport.
Upon the decision for Pucovski to return home from Canberra, CA chief Kevin Roberts defended the manner in which team management had handled him, as questions rose as to whether the selection process had impacted on the youngster's mental state.
"We're handling the situation with care. Will has been really mature about it, we know mental health issues are more prevalent right across society," Roberts said a day after Pucovski had been released to return home.
"It is really important to note the support Will has had around him through the team doctor, psychologist in the team and also the national network of support we've got with player development managers in every state."
He has not played since Hobart but will now look to help the Demons' finals bid and kick-start what he hopes will be a productive second half of the season in the Sheffield Shield, which could lead to a maiden Ashes tour.
His talent is undeniable and was rewarded when he was crowned the Don Bradman young cricketer of the year at CA's awards night on Monday.
Pucovski, averaging 103 in Shield cricket this season, said he had been proud of the way he had handled himself in a fledgling career of eight first-class matches.
"It was, obviously, quite special, especially as a young kid basically playing amongst your heroes – to get some runs was good. It's obviously been pretty public there were a few sort of challenges throughout that as well but it's something that I have been able to reflect on and be pretty proud of," he said.
Source: Read Full Article