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Doug Walters backs selection of boom youngster Will Pucovski

Ian Chappell, Julian King
Article image for Doug Walters backs selection of boom youngster Will Pucovski

Australian cricket great Doug Walters has backed the Test selection of 20-year-old Will Pucovski.

Pucovski was selected in a 13-man squad alongside Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka – also with an eye to this year’s Ashes series over in England.

But there was no room for Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb as well as both Shaun and Mitchell Marsh – who were all axed in a radical shake up as selectors lost patience with the quartet’s poor run of form.

“He’s (Pucovski) obviously done things right to be selected for a start,” Walters said.

“Whatever he’s been doing right, that’s what he’s got to keep doing.

“I’d rather start that way than start with a failure.

“I wish him every success, at 20 that’s your dream come true isn’t it?”

Walters himself played his first Test at just 19-years-old, while Ricky Ponting and Neil Harvey also debuted before their 21st birthdays.

The 73-year-old scored a magnificent 155 on debut against the old enemy in England, but says it was a dream come true just to be selected.

“It was something I dreamed of doing as a kid like a lot of people do I suppose is playing Test cricket for Australia,” Walters said.

“That was certainly one of my dreams and to have it come into reality that was the biggest highlight of my cricket career – just getting selected.

“To score a hundred in the first Test is an added bonus that’s all.”

74 Tests later and over 5000 runs later at an average of over 48 – Walters will go down as one of the most iconic figures of Australian cricket – also remembered for his cheeky antics on and off the field.

Pucovski has only played eight First Class matches, but averages 49 including an outstanding 243 for Victoria against Western Australia earlier this season in the Sheffield Shield.

And while he’s had his fair share of battles in such a young career, there’s no doubt Australian selectors have identified Pucovski as a star of the future.

But Walters says it will be challenging for the youngster to come in during such a difficult period in Australian cricket.

“It’s got to be harder because we’re struggling,” Walters said.

“I just forget how Australian cricket was placed when I played my first Test.

“I didn’t care that much and I hope that he doesn’t care that much either.

“Australian cricket is certainly in the doldrums at the moment, but hopefully we’ll come out of it pretty quickly.”

The first Test against Sri Lanka begins on January 24 at the Gabba.


Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.

Ian Chappell, Julian King