Will Pucovski breaks three-year drought with brilliant century in Sheffield Shield

The Victorian batter hadn't scored a century in first-class cricket since November of 2020.

Will Pucovski, pictured here in the Sheffield Shield.
Will Pucovski made his first century in first-class cricket in over three years. Image: Getty

Will Pucovski has brought up his first century in first-class cricket in over three years, notching a breakthrough ton in Victoria's Sheffield Shield clash with NSW. Returning to the XI after missing the last game due to concussion issues, Pucovski registered his first century since November of 2020 on Sunday at the SCG.

The 26-year-old hit five boundaries in an extremely patient innings, bringing up his hundred off 258 balls for the seventh century of his first-class career. It comes as welcome news for Australian cricket fans, but particularly for Pucovski himself.

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The Victorian has always been touted as a future Test star, but has only played one game for Australia to date. He has suffered numerous concussions throughout his career, which have affected his mental health and seen him take a number of breaks from the game.

Pucovski played his lone Test match in January of 2021 against India, but suffered a shoulder injury in that game while diving in the field. He has never managed to get back to the top level as concussions continue to plague his career.

In a revealing interview last week, the 26-year-old said the mental health issues have been harder to deal with than the concussions. "The concussion stuff is definitely linked, but there's also a lot of talk about retirement in regarding concussions," he said on the Vic State Cricket podcast.

"(Victorian coach Chris Rogers) was definitely right that the concussions have masked the bigger issues and that's the mental health stuff. The mental health has been a much bigger issue for me than even the concussions. I don't fear for my long-term health, it's more the mental health side that's been the tougher part."

Will Pucovski.
Will Pucovski in action for Victoria against NSW in the Sheffield Shield.

Cricket fans delighted over Will Pucovski's drought-breaking century

Pucovski was struck on the helmet while batting in a second XI game on January 22. He was cleared of concussion at the time but experienced some delayed symptoms at training and sat out Victoria's last Shield game against South Australia.

"One day I'll be ready to tell my whole story and it will probably make a lot more sense," he said. "I've explained what I've been through to my inner circle of people and actually all the responses I've got have been like 'Jesus, I would never have guessed that in a million years, that doesn't even make sense to me'.

"It hasn't made sense to me for years, either, but I've been on this pathway to understand it all. I didn't feel comfortable even speaking to psychologists about what I've been through for five or six years. When I made a double hundred in Perth when I was 20, I would have received hundreds of messages from people along the lines of 'you must be so happy', but I was so miserable."

Pucovski's ton came after Peter Handscomb also brought up triple figures on Sunday. Nic Maddinson also made a century on Saturday as Victoria put NSW to the sword.

Maddinson made 108 from 136 balls to put Victoria in a commanding position. His 17th first-class century came two weeks after he hit 104 against South Australia in his first Shield innings since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a BBL game on New Year's Day in 2023.

with AAP

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