Players’ mental health is one of the biggest issue Cricket Australia is facing now-a-days. After Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson puts out of selection due to mental health issue now another Australian Batsman has step out of test selection due to mental wellbeing.
Highly talented Victorian batsman Will Pucovski has removed himself from Australia’s selection mix for the first Domain Test against Pakistan, citing a renewed focus on his mental wellbeing.
The 21-year-old was shaping as a potential selection in a 14-man squad to be named on Thursday, after a strong start to the Sheffield Shield and selection in an Australia A side which met Pakistan in a three-day tour match at Perth Stadium.
Pucovski informed team officials on Tuesday evening he would not seek a position in the Australian Test side.
“We applaud Will for having the courage to discuss his situation with team management in Perth,” Cricket Australia EGM of National Teams Ben Oliver 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 wellbeing.
“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. “I speak on behalf of everyone in Australian cricket when I say we wish Will the very best in his recovery.”
Players’ mental health is being given greater weight at the Australian selection table, according to new Cricket Australia national teams chief Ben Oliver.
Players have been applauded for ruling themselves out and Oliver, who began as CA’s executive general manager of national teams three months ago, said he had reinforced to selectors the importance of mental wellbeing when picking sides.
“I certainly think that selectors and coaches and support staff are more mindful than ever about making sure we’re looking after our players and we’re caring for them, and that they’re well prepared for whatever opportunity comes up,” Oliver told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
“If you’re to put a selection lens on that, it’s important that we’re taking into consideration the whole person and how they’re travelling at a given point in time and ‘are they ready and prepared for the challenge and opportunity that comes up at a national level?’”
CA has worked with youth mental health organisation Orygen in an effort to better understand the issue. Oliver, a former Victoria and Tasmania all-rounder, has made the subject a priority since joining the governing body.
“I think it’s just part of an overall approach from the game that we’re more mindful and aware of what people are experiencing and they’re all factors that need to be considered when it comes to selection,” Oliver said.
Credit to both Maxy and Maddo that they’ve had the strength to step up and talk about it.
“We need to be aware of how players are travelling across a whole range of dimensions and mental health and their wellbeing is one of those elements. In terms of working with the selectors on that, that’s an ongoing process, and I’ve been really impressed with their willingness to look at selection from a very holistic perspective.”