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Will Pucovski: Australian cricket star opens up on his mental health battle

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A Rising Australian cricket star Will Pucovski opens up on mental health battle

Will Pucovski was being touted as a possible Test candidate when he took time out for mental health issues — which struck at the unlikeliest moment.

Victorian young gun Will Pucovski has opened up on his mental health battle that saw him miss a chunk of the domestic season after being touted as a possible Australian representative this summer.

In an exclusive podcast with Fox Cricket, the 20-year-old made the shock revelation he first realised something wasn’t right during an innings against Western Australia — but still went on to pile on a double hundred.

Pucovski became the first Aussie since Ricky Ponting to score a first class double century before their 21st birthday when he racked up 243 in Perth in October, but was struck by mental demons when he went to stumps on day one unbeaten on 64.

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He called his parents that night to tell them what was going on before talking to Victoria about his situation the next morning.

“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,” Pucovski told The Follow-On podcast.

“I was 64 not out overnight if I remember. I got to the game to have my pre-morning hit in the nets and pulled one of the coaches, Lachie Stevens, aside and said, ‘Look mate, this is what I’m going through. I don’t really understand what’s going on and don’t know why it’s happening but this is what’s happening’.

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“It was quite a confronting thing but they were beyond awesome about it … They were just so supportive from the outset.

“I still remember Lachie putting his arm around me and saying, ‘Mate, I’m shattered for you and we will get you sorted when you’re back but if you can do anything to get us some runs today that would be great.’

“I replied: ‘Don’t worry mate. I will be ready to go and will try my very best.’ Obviously it turned out to be quite a good day.”

Incredibly, despite his personal situation, Pucovski went on to smash 179 more runs in that innings to record his second first class century after debuting in 2017.

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It was an innings that had some pundits calling for him to be blooded in a Test team desperate for batsmen given the absence of banned stars Steve Smith and David Warner.

Pucovski started fielding in Western Australia’s innings but later left the field and it was revealed he would take time out from the game for personal reasons.

The right-hander missed about six weeks of cricket before returning for the Bushrangers when they hosted Western Australia at the MCG in early December. He made a classy return to form, scoring 67 in the second innings.