Cricket: Will Pucovski scores season-opening hundred for Victoria

A blow to the box was the only thing which could slow down one-Test opener Will Pucovski who produced an innings to get national selectors tingling as he carved out an unbeaten 193, before retiring, for a Victorian second XI in his first innings since April.

In an effort spanning more than 11 hours across two days in Coffs Harbour, and facing a NSW bowling attack which included frontline quicks Trent Copeland and Ben Dwarshius, Pucovski retired at tea on the third day, to give other batters a chance, having spent the entire day at the crease.

Pucovski was stifled only when taking a hit to the box on 159, a blow which took him some minutes to recover from. He batted on before opting not to come back after tea, having faced 405 balls across his 682 minute stay.

It’s believed there was no injury issue and he’s expected to line-up for the Vics again in next week’s one-day cup opener against New South Wales.

The now 24-year-old batting star soaked up more than 200 balls on Tuesday to reach 95 not out when stumps was called early on day two of the game in Coffs Harbour due to bad light. But it didn’t take long to reach triple figures early on Wednesday to dispel any fears about his long-term future after a horror run with concussion.

After sharing a 268-run stand with another rising star, Ashley Chandrasinghe (110), Pucovski continued to carve out more runs, and batting from 9:30am lasted until 3pm in his innings which included 19 fours and a six.

It was Pucovski’s first hit in a state cap since he finished an injury-interrupted 2021-22 season in the Sheffield Shield final, returning to cricket to dispel any doubts about his long-term future after repeated incidents of concussion.

Pucovski has played just three first-class games since his Test debut against India in January 21, a situation that has stifled his international opportunities.

But his place in the pecking order for Australian selectors was confirmed when Pucovski was sent to India last month as part of a group of emerging batters and spinners, indicating that he firmly remains a part of Australia‘s future plans.

Victoria has also announced a new head of men’s cricket, former Australian one-day batter David Hussey, who is also coach of the Melbourne Stars.

Hussey will see out this season in the BBL, before stepping down.

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