Will Pucovski in action for Victoria. Picture: AAP
Will Pucovski in action for Victoria. Picture: AAP

Award validates wraps on Pucovski

BATTING prodigy Will Pucovski could hardly talk when he joined an esteemed group by taking out the Don Bradman young cricketer of the year award.

Pucovski wasn't quite lost for words, but still battling the effects of his 21st birthday celebrations last Saturday as he made his first public appearance since being released from the Test squad in Canberra to continue to deal with his mental health issues.

The Victorian was able to reflect on his two weeks in the Australian camp when he was called up for the series against Sri Lanka, but didn't get to wear a baggy green cap.

"It was pretty amazing, being a young kid and basically in amongst your heroes. It was any young kid's dream," he said.

"It was an unbelievable experience."

That experience ended when, for a second time, Pucovski was forced to take a break from cricket to deal with the mental issues that have become very public.

Will Pucovski with his Bradman Young Cricketer award. Picture: Getty Images
Will Pucovski with his Bradman Young Cricketer award. Picture: Getty Images

He spoke of having a few "challenges" even when he made the 243 for Victoria against Western Australia last October, an innings which thrust him in to the national spotlight, and forced his first break.

They are challenges Pucovski has owned, and ones he has decided to be transparent about.

They are also challenges the Australian cricket community hopes doesn't preclude him from having the international career he seems destined for.

Pucovski earned high praise from national coach Justin Langer during his short stay with the national team, and Pucovski, who is averaging 103 in the Sheffield Shield this season, also left a huge impression on Test captain Tim Paine.

"He's got a little bit of an aura about him, but in a quiet, softly spoken kind of way,' Paine said after the Test in Sri Lanka.

"I think the way he goes about his batting is really simple as well, and it's been clear that he's going to be up to this level.

"And it's exciting to have someone of that sort of talent, and for him to be so mature and calm for his age I think it's really exciting for us as a team and as a country to have someone like that come on to the scene. It's been a while."

Pucovski earned 46 per cent of the player vote for the award, despite playing only five games in the voting period, less than half others eligible for the award.

His return to cricket has not been locked in, but he's expected to play in Victoria's next Shield game against Queensland at the Junction Oval, starting February 23.

Mens ODI Player of the Year: Marcus Stoinis - 30 votes

Womens ODI Player of the Year: Alyssa Healy - 13 votes

Betty Wilson Young Cricketer of the Year: Georgia Wareham - 74% of the vote

Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year: Will Pucovski

Male Test Player of the Year: Nathan Lyon

Community Champion: Moises Henriques

Womens Domestic Player of the Year: Heather Graham - 29% of the vote

Mens Domestic Player of the Year: Matthew Wade - 24% of the vote

Womens T20I Player of the Year: Alyssa Healy - 43 votes

Mens T20I Player of the Year: Glenn Maxwell - 33 votes

Belinda Clark Medal: Alyssa Healy - 125 votes

Allan Border Medal: Pat Cummins - 156 votes

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