Will Pucovski remains firmly on the radar of national selectors with the Victorian batting prodigy one of eight young talents off to India next month as part of a development tour.
Pucovski missed all bar three of Victoria’s matches last season following his latest concussion setback but returned to the field at the back end of the summer, making 59 in the Marsh Sheffield Shield final against Western Australia.
While he wasn’t included in the Australia A squad that toured Sri Lanka last month, national selectors have confirmed he remains in the frame for a Test recall with an upcoming four-match tour to India at the end of the summer by including in the squad to visit the MRF Academy in Chennai from August 7-17.
Accompanying the 24-year-old will be West Australians Josh Philippe, Teague Wyllie and Cooper Connolly, South Australian opener Henry Hunt and spinners Matt Kuhnemann, Todd Murphy and Tanveer Sangha.
Philippe, Hunt and the three tweakers were all part of the A squad’s 3-1 series victory against Sri Lanka A in June when Hunt hit 107 on the final day of the second four-day match as the visitors chased down an imposing 367 on a wearing pitch in the fourth innings.
The 10-day visit, which forms part of a longstanding exchange between the MRF Pace Foundation and Cricket Australia, is predominantly focused on emerging batsmen and spin bowlers that the National Selection Panel feels will benefit from the experience in subcontinent conditions.
The eight players will integrate with local players in training and in a two-day and one-day match within the camp block.
The group will be coached by former Sri Lankan allrounder Thilan Samaraweera with Australian fast bowler great Glenn McGrath joining the coaching staff in his role as a consultant with the MRF Academy.
McGrath was part of the first exchange in 1992 with Paul Wilson, when Dennis Lillee was head coach, with McGrath subsequently taking over as head coach following the end of his career.
“It is exciting to renew the partnership with the MRF Academy and provide this group of young players with a truly unique experience,” said Australian men’s selector Tony Dodemaide.
“Some have toured the subcontinent in the past so this trip will further refine their skills while others will gain valuable new experience in these testing conditions.”
As part of the exchange two Indian fast bowlers are on their way to Brisbane where they will take part in Queensland Cricket’s inaugural KFC T20 Max competition.
Left-arm fast bowlers Chetan Sakariya (Delhi Capitals) and Mukesh Choudhary (Chennai Super Kings) both have Indian Premier League experience and will also train at the Bupa National Cricket Center and join Queensland Bulls pre-season training.
Sakriya, 24, made his ODI and T20I debuts last year for India against Sri Lanka, while Choudhary, 26, has 25 IPL matches under his belt.
Player and coaching exchanges between the MRF Pace Foundation and Cricket Australia have been in place for almost 20 years, with this summer the first exchange since they were paused due to the COVID pandemic.