The decision to leave Will Pucovski out of the Ashes side is one that may further the futuristic leader’s career.
Pucovski recently took some time from the game battling his own mental health demons and was released from the Test squad early in his debut tour against Sri Lanka.
Undisputedly the 21 year-old has a treasured ability to spend long stints at the crease and will have a prosperous career in the baggy green.
Pucovski burst onto the Australian cricket scene, breaking a 22-year-old record in the under-19 national championships in 2016. In that particular series the Vic Metro opener furthered his captaincy skills and averaged well over three figures, including four consecutive centuries followed by an 87-ball 69, surpassing Queenslander Jerry Cassell’s record of 568 in 1994 and Australian great Ricky Ponting’s record of 350 in 1992.
Following that series, the right-hander earnt himself a spot at Sheffield Shield level for the Bushrangers, where he has thrived when he has managed to stay on the park.
In his eight matches Pucovski has collected 588 runs at 49.00 with two centuries and one half-century, including an epic 243 against West Australia at the WACA.
Repetitive breaks from the game through concussion and mental health have delayed Australia from seeing consistent performances and endeavour at the crease Pucovski has shown glimpses of. The health of the Victorian is more important than the trial of his position in a top order that he will most likely spearhead in many years to come.
Pucovski needed to debut in the last Test for Australia against Sri Lanka to be eligible to play county cricket and demonstrate his talent in English conditions this Australian winter.
The Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year has uncommonly prioritised the red-ball game over the shorter format by learning how to make big scores for Melbourne Cricket Club at Premier Cricket level. Playing five matches for his Premier club this year, Pucovski has scored four half-centuries, two of which have been unbeaten.
To debut Pucovski against a potent English attack would be an immense challenge for someone who is already battling challenges of their own.
James Anderson has recently eclipsed Glenn McGrath in all-time Test wickets (572) and equalled countryman Ian Botham on five wicket-hauls (27). In home conditions Anderson is near on unplayable.
Anderson is accompanied by Stuart Broad, who is familiar with demolishing the Australian batting line-up. In the last Ashes series on home soil in 2015 Broad
collected 21 wickets – the most of any player in that series – at 20.90, including a hypnotic 8-15 at Trent Bridge.
Australia has not enjoyed the challenge of English conditions in recent times, coming home losers from every away Ashes series since 2001. Some of our most
experienced players struggle against the swinging Duke ball.
Pucovski will no doubt be one of Australia’s brightest cricketers and a possible leader in the future, but to debut him in English conditions would give the youngster a more than difficult opportunity to show what he is really capable of at the top level.
A longer period away from the game and a debut in home conditions would be a perfect start to what Australians hope to be an extensive career for Will Pucovski.