Will Pucovski, though only 22, has long been tipped for the top in Australia cricketing circles. His 255* and his part in a record-breaking Sheffield Shield partnership with Marcus Harris against South Australia has put the young stroke-maker back in the mix for a Test debut this Australian summer.
This is the story of his career so far.
Will Pucovski: The beginning
Pucovski made his professional debut at the age of 18 against a touring Pakistan side in January 2017. A month later, Pucovski made his first-class bow in the Sheffield Shield in what would be his only appearance in the competition that season. A strong campaign in 2018/19 saw him earn a maiden Test call-up at the age of 20 for Australia’s home series against Sri Lanka, though he was eventually left unused.
Will Pucovski: The good times
Though it’s still early days in Pucovski’s career, he’s already shown an insatiable appetite for heavy run-scoring. His maiden first-class hundred was a 188 from No. 4 against Queensland, struck as a teenager; just 21 matches into his first-class career, Pucovksi already has two double centuries. The second of those double hundreds came in record-breaking circumstances. In his maiden first-class outing as an opener, Pucovksi put on a Sheffield Shield record partnership of 486 alongside Australia opener Marcus Harris. Pucovski finished the innings unbeaten on 255.
Will Pucovski: The tough times
Pucovski has been concussed on numerous occasions so far in his short career. Earlier in 2020, Pucovski suffered a concussion after a freak incident while attempting to run a quick single, where his bat dug into the turf causing the young Victorian to fall heavily onto the ground head first. Pucovski was also concussed in 2018 after being hit on the helmet while batting during a game. He has suffered further blows to the head off the cricket field too, including one such incident in an Aussie Rules college game.
In 2019, Pucovski withdrew from a possible international selection, due to “to matters pertaining to mental wellbeing”. In the previous Australian summer, Pucovski took time out the game citing struggles with his mental health.
A precocious talent, the next obvious step is an elevation to the senior set-up and win that maiden Test cap he came so close to earning in early 2019. It’s been nearly a year since Australia last played a Test and it’s possible that Australia might look for alternatives to Matthew Wade and Travis Head and Nos 5 and 6 six in the line-up. Neither player has been desperate for runs, but neither have made inarguable claims for selection. Pucovski’s main barrier to selection comes in the form of another young buck causing a stir, Cameron Green. Green’s run-scoring has been just as impressive as Pucovski’s and with a first-class bowling average of less than 23, offers an all-round option that Australia have long been searching for in the Test arena.
Speaking after Pucovski’s 255*, Mark Waugh tipped the Victorian for higher honours. “I think [Pucovksi is a] very, very talented and has a great technique. He’s been one of the up and coming players who’s been earmarked from a pretty young age that he’s going to be a good player. It’s just a matter of him playing and scoring runs. If everything goes right for him and he stays on track then he’s got a big future playing at Test level I think.”