Australia's Green, best since Ponting, gets nod for India ODIs, T20s

Aussie talent Pucovski eyes India Tests after mental health issues

By: AFP      Published: 12:32 PM, 29 Oct, 2020
Australia's Green, best since Ponting, gets nod for India ODIs, T20s

Highly-rated young all-rounder Cameron Green was Thursday included in Australia's squad for their white-ball series against India, while Moises Henriques earned a recall.

Green, 21, was a surprise inclusion for three ODIs and three Twenty20s starting next month, with his call-up following a classy 197 in the domestic Sheffield Shield last week.

The knock saw Greg Chappell describe him as the best he had seen since Ricky Ponting.

"Cameron's domestic form has been outstanding and he has carried it through for Western Australia this summer," said national selector Trevor Hohns. 

"As a potential player of the future this is an opportunity for him to be part of the squad and build on his experience."

Henriques was also a head-turner, brought in as an all-rounder to replace Mitchell Marsh, who picked up an ankle injury in the Indian Premier League.

He played his last one-dayer and T20 for Australia in 2017, but was prolific last season for the Sydney Sixers as they won the Big Bash League.

"Moises is a tremendous cricketer with loads of experience and is a great person to have around the group," said Hohns. 

"His form was extremely impressive in leading the Sixers to the BBL title last summer and he has played well at the start of this season."

Spinner Nathan Lyon is a high-profile omission from the big touring party Australia took to England in September.

Adam Zampa was preferred, with Lyon being saved for Australia's four Test series against India that follows the white-ball games. The Test squad is yet to be announced.

"The entire squad performed exceptionally well in the UK in beating the current one-day world champions at home and retaining the world number one ranking in T20 international cricket," said Hohns. 

"We look forward to a blockbuster summer against one of our greatest rivals."

Coronavirus pandemic permitting, India's squad will arrive in Sydney on November 12 and complete quarantine and Covid-19 protocols.

Their tour opens on November 27 with an ODI in Sydney followed by another two days later. The third and final game is played in Canberra, which also hosts the opening T20 before the series moves back to Sydney.

Wrangling over quarantine requirements and an outbreak of the virus in Melbourne delayed confirmation of the tour, which was only locked in on Wednesday.

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Meanwhile, young Australian batting prodigy Will Pucovski says he's in "a really good space" and ready to fight for a Test spot against India after mental health issues twice forced him to step away from the game.

The 22-year-old, regarded as one of the country's best prospects, was parachuted into the national set-up last summer for Tests against Sri Lanka.

But after being overlooked for the first one and again missing out on selection for the second he was released to return home and focus on his mental wellbeing.

It was not the first time Pucovski had struggled, taking a long break after hitting a breakthrough 243 for Victoria against Western Australia in 2018.

"I didn't feel like I was quite ready at the time, but I've done a mountain of work in the last year to try to get myself a little further down the line," he told reporters.

"I just feel like I'm in a really good space now, which is awesome, just in everyday life and with my cricket.

"I don't have much control over whether they pick me or not, but I'm definitely very keen," he added of his aspirations for this summer's four-Test tour by India, which starts in Adelaide on December 17.

His first chance to press a case comes on Friday when Victoria get their Sheffield Shield campaign underway against South Australia.

Mental health has been thrust into the spotlight in recent times, with batting superstar Glenn Maxwell and fellow international Nic Maddinson also taking breaks last year.

And there was another reminder this week with South Australia opener Jake Weatherald, who struck a century in their opening Shield clash, withdrawing from their squad to face Victoria for similar reasons.

"He is just having a bit of time out, so we are respecting his wishes and his privacy and hopefully he is back with us sooner rather than later," South Australia coach Jason Gillespie said.

Cricket Australia recently appointed its first mental health and wellbeing officer and there has been increased emphasis on the issue as players deal with being in bio-secure hubs during the coronavirus pandemic.