Former Australian Test captain Mark Taylor has called on national selectors to take the plunge and pick Victorian young gun Will Pucovski for the upcoming series against India.
Pucovski forced his way into the 17-man Test squad after compiling consecutive double-centuries in the Sheffield Shield this summer.
Despite missing the opening two rounds of the competition, the 22-year-old currently sits as the tournament’s highest run-scorer, with 495 runs in three innings.
Meanwhile, incumbent opening batsman Burns has failed to impress with the bat this season, mustering 57 runs in five innings with an average of 11.40.
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Speaking on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday, Taylor suggested Burns hasn’t done enough to warrant selection, and should make way for the Victorian prodigy.
“Joe Burns averages 38 in Test cricket. He’s been a good, solid player for Australia, without being a great one,” Taylor said on Sunday morning.
“I think it’s time to play young Will Pucovski. He said he’s ready, he made two double-hundreds.
“Pick him while he’s in form, get him in there, because he has the potential to be a player for the next decade.”
Will Pucovski of Victoria.Source:Getty Images
Pucovski was named in the Australian Test squad for a two-match series against Sri Lanka in early 2019, but the batsman stepped away from the game, citing mental health concerns.
The mental health break seemingly did wonders for Pucovski, who recently claimed he’s ready for a potential international debut.
“He’s been very open and honest about it, right from the word go, which is not always easy, particularly in the sides that I played in,” Taylor said. “That would have been seen as a sign of weakness. Now, it’s actually seen as a sign of strength.
“I like the fact that Chris Rogers, the Victorian coach, has had a word to him, and said, ‘Why don’t you bat at the top of the order, take on the opening spot?’
“He’s done that, made two double hundreds, and he’s once again publicly come out and said, ‘I now feel good, I’m enjoying my cricket, I’m ready’.
“His openness and his transparency with his mental health issues have really helped him, and I think has set a really good example for young sportspeople.”
Mark Taylor names his Test team for the India series, opting for Will Pucovski.
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Although Pucovski has done everything in his power to earn a Baggy Green, national coach Justin Langer has hinted Australia would field an unchanged XI for the first Test against India at Adelaide Oval.
Speaking on ABC’s Offsiders, sports reporter Alister Nicholson explained why Langer would be tempted to stick with Burns and Australian stalwart David Warner.
“(Langer’s) wedded to the idea it’s harder to get out of the Australian side than into it, going back to the successful era he was part of,” Nicholson said on Sunday morning.
“As much as Burns has only made certain scores this Sheffield Shield, he averages over 50 in the opening partnership with David Warner.
“If you go back to the last series when they opened together, last summer, they averaged 65 and the first wicket fell on average after 20 overs, that’s a pretty good opening combination.”
Pucovski and Burns were both named in the Australia A squad to face the touring Indians in early December, and could potentially combine to form the opening partnership.
Former Australian cricketer Alex Blackwell is excited by the prospect of an old-fashioned bat-off to determine the Test XI.
“Pucovski’s done exactly what Justin Langer has asked, and that’s beat down the door with weight of runs,” Blackwell said on Offsiders.
“He has another opportunity in the Australian A squad, which Burns is in as well. For mine, I think that is a massive opportunity for both of the players.
“Whoever comes out on top, I think, he should pick them.”
The debate continues: should Will Pucovski replace Joe Burns? #offsiders pic.twitter.com/ROlQJwVcwp
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