MENTAL HEALTH WELLBEING
Pucovski was in contention for one of the middle-order spots in Australia’s Test squad against Pakistan. © Getty
Will Pucovski has requested Cricket Australia not to consider him for Test selection against Pakistan citing mental health issues. The 21-year-old Victoria batsman reported the issue to team management in Perth on Tuesday evening, post which it was agreed that he could finish the three-day tour game against Pakistan.
Pucovski was in contention for one of the middle-order spots in the Test squad and was competing with Travis Head for the same.
“We applaud Will for having the courage to discuss his situation with team management in Perth,” Ben Oliver, Cricket Australia’s EGM of National Teams, said. “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.
“Mental health is a complex issue that unfortunately impacts many young men and women in our society. By Will bravely taking this position, he will undoubtedly inspire others facing similar challenges to speak up and take positive steps towards improving their mental well being. The most important thing now is for Will to be given the time, space and expert support that he needs to return to full health as soon as possible.”
Pucovski had earlier been excused on mental health grounds during the Canberra Test against Sri Lanka earlier this year, where he was a non-playing member of Australia’s Test squad. He joins Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson as players who have opted to come out and let the board know about their mental health issues.
“There is much society still needs to learn in relation to mental health, but we know enough to say with great certainty that silence is not the answer,” Alex Kountouris, Cricket Australia’s Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager, said. “Cricket Australia has committed to being open about the challenges faced in managing mental health. We are putting player well being first and supporting them unconditionally. That’s something we’re proud of.
“Will has demonstrated great strength in being open about his situation. While no one wants to see a fine young man like Will confronting mental wellbeing issues, we are heartened by the fact he is surrounded by excellent people who will support him. We are all right behind him.”
Cricket Australia are due to announce the squad for the two Tests against Pakistan later today.