Young batting prodigy Will Pucovski pulled out of contention for a place in Australia’s Test team to play Pakistan on Thursday as he continues to battle mental health issues.
The 21-year-old informed management of his decision during Australia A’s three-day clash against Pakistan in Perth, which ended in a draw Wednesday and was seen as a “bat-off” with at least two Test spots up for grabs. Pucovski scored five in his only knock.
“We applaud Will for having the courage to discuss his situation with team management in Perth,” said Cricket Australia’s head of national teams Ben Oliver.
“Will’s decision not to nominate for Test selection was the right one in the circumstances and one that everyone in the Australian cricket family supports.” The first Test starts next week in Brisbane, with Australia’s squad due to be announced later Thursday.
Pucovski’s decision comes just days after middle-order batsman Nic Maddinson withdrew from the Australia A match for similar reasons.
That move came after short-format specialist Glenn Maxwell opted to take a “short” break from cricket to deal with similar challenges.
Pucovski, who announced himself with a superb 243 for Victoria against Western Australia last season, has a history of mental health battles.
Following that double century, he took a long break and later told reporters: “It was one of those things where what it looked like from the outside wasn’t quite matching up with what it was on the inside.” “I was more confused than at any other time in my life,” he added.
He seemed to recover and was parachuted into the Australia squad in January for two home Tests against Sri Lanka, but did not play and was released during the second Test as he continued to struggle with his mental health.
“Cricket Australia has committed to being open about the challenges faced in managing mental health,” Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s sports science and sports medicine manager, said on Thursday.
“We are putting player wellbeing first and supporting them unconditionally.”