Victorian batting prodigy Will Pucovski steps away from cricket for personal reasons

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Victorian batting prodigy Will Pucovski steps away from cricket for personal reasons

Victorian batting prodigy Will Pucovski, regularly touted as a future star of Australian cricket, has decided to step away from the game for personal reasons.

On Thursday afternoon, Cricket Victoria announced the 24-year-old would not be unavailable for selection in the Sheffield Shield and Marsh Cup, with no timeline set for his return.

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“Cricket Victoria will continue to provide all necessary support to Will and ask that his privacy be respected during this time,” the statement read.

Pucovski took a six-week break from cricket during the 2018/19 home summer to deal with mental health issues, requesting not to be considered for Test selection the following season “due to matters pertaining to mental wellbeing”.

He made his long-awaited Test debut against India in the 2021 New Year’s Test match at the SCG, scoring 61 in the first innings before an untimely shoulder injury paved the way for Victorian teammate Marcus Harris to replace him in the starting XI.

The talented right-hander was then plagued by concussion setbacks throughout the 2021/22 summer, keeping him on the sidelines for most of the season.

Will Pucovski is stepping away from cricket. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The opening batter’s eleventh concussion scare came in bizarre circumstances, somehow managing to kick a volleyball into his own head during a Sheffield Shield warm-up.

Earlier this year, Cricket Australia sent Pucovski to the MRF Academy in Chennai, joining a group of emerging batters and spinners to experience the subcontinent’s unique conditions.

The 10-day excursion showed that Pucovski, who averages 48.97 with the bat in first-class cricket, remains a vital part of Australia’s future Test plans.

“Player welfare is always our top priority,” Cricket Victoria’s general manager of performance Graham Manou said in a statement on Thursday.

“We’ll continue to work with Will to ensure he gets the support and space he needs and welcome him back when he’s ready.”

Last month, Pucovski scored an unbeaten 193 in Victoria’s second XI pre-season fixture against New South Wales in Coffs Harbour, surviving 404 deliveries and 682 minutes.

The batting prodigy has a history of concussions. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“Pretty happy for him, he’s a good egg,” Victorian teammate and Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell told reporters after Pucovski’s marathon knock.

“I was at the pre-season stuff with him a couple of weeks ago, and he looked in really good spirits. He was pretty happy with how his pre-season’s gone, and he was just excited to get back into it.

“He had a trip over to India during the off-season as well, and he said he absolutely loved it.

“Will’s a cricket nuffie — he loves soaking up new information, trying new things, and for him to go over there is great for his game.

“Hopefully it’s a good sign of things to come for this summer, because an Australian summer with him going well is really exciting for Australian cricket.”

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