Victorian batsmen Will Pucovski is seemingly on the verge of a baggy green after a second double-ton in two games this Sheffield Shield season.
Pucovski was named in last summers squad before withdrawing for mental health reasons.
But, after the youngster smashed the Western Australian’s all around the park for a second straight day some of Australian cricket’s biggest names have called for Pucovski to be installed in the test team ahead of a massive series against India.
Michael Clarke, Mark Waugh and Kim Hughes believe now is the time for Pucovski to make the move the the big time.
“Got to pick him, the decision is made just on runs,” Clarke, the last Australian before Pucovski to score consecutive first-class double-centuries, said on the Big Sports Breakfast ahead of day two of Victoria’s clash against WA.
“It’s against a good team, India, but this kid is ready,” he said.
“You don’t get a big double-hundred and 180 not-out if you’re not ready.”
Waugh believes the spot Pucovski would most likely take would be that of Joe Burns’ at the top of the order as the Queenslander struggles for form ahead of the first test.
“I would definitely be picking him for the first Test against India,” Waugh told foxsports.com.au. “He should be picked as an opening batsman.
“Joe Burns has got a decent enough record but he just hasn’t nailed that spot down,” Waugh added of Burns, who averaged 32.00 for Australia last summer and has posted scores of 7, 29, 0, and 10 for Queensland this season.
“Last summer he looked good at times without making the big score and he has just left the door open for a younger player or an in-form player to pop in there.”
“It’s hard not to be impressed with his form,” Waugh said. “He has a very simple technique, he stands very still, he has got all the shots, he can play off the front and the backfoot. He could not have been any more impressive.
“For a young guy to be making such big hundreds and double hundreds, it shows you his hunger for runs and he’s just in a great space at the moment, great headspace really, and batting with a lot of confidence.”
Pucovski has taken stints out of the game for both mental health and concussion issues but Waugh has backed the young Vic to be ready this time around.
“I don’t know the ins and outs of what his issues have been but I would imagine if he is ever going to be right and ready to go it would be now,” Waugh said.
“He is batting with a lot of confidence so he wouldn’t have the fear of failure there. He would be in a really good head space at the moment. Without knowing the intimate details I would say he is ready to go.”
Former Australia captain Hughes backed Pucovski to open the batting in the first test at Adelaide Oval.
“He seems to have got those mental challenges sorted out. I would pick Pucovski,” Hughes told ABC Grandstand.
“He is in a good space.”
“He has got so much experience around him,” he said. “He’s struggled in the past with some mental (health) issues that he has had and he has openly said he has got a lot of support around him at the moment and he feels like he is in a better place.
“The fact that this series in Australia, I think is a great way to get him into that Test team as well. He is playing in conditions he is accustomed to and used to. He is able to speak to his family or his friends or the people he needs on a daily basis being here in Australia versus if you were going to select him on an overseas tour.
“You add Warner as his partner, (Marnus) Labuschagne as his No.3, (Steve) Smith as his No.4, that’s the leadership and experience you need around you as a young batsman.”