Pick Pucovski while in form: Mark Taylor

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

Former Test captain Mark Taylor has added his voice to the chorus calling for Will Pucovski to debut next month, suggesting selectors should blood the young gun while he is in such sparkling form.

Pucovski and Joe Burns are locked in a battle to be David Warner's opening partner in Australia's first Test against India, which starts at Adelaide Oval on December 17.

The pair are expected to open the batting for Australia A in a three-day game, which starts on December 6, before coach Justin Langer and selectors make a decision that is already the subject of much public debate.

Burns tallied a total of 57 runs from five Sheffield Shield innings this season whereas Pucovski logged scores of 255 not out, 202 and 38 after being promoted to open for Victoria.

Langer and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns have both suggested the value of incumbency will carry a lot of weight in the selection debate, arguing the Burns-Warner partnership has played a key role in piloting Australia to top spot on the Test rankings.

Taylor, who opened for Australia throughout a 104-Test career then later became a Cricket Australia director, believes that Burns should be axed in favour of Pucovski.

"I would leave Joe Burns out. Joe Burns averages 38 in Test cricket. He's been a good solid player for Australia without being a great one," Taylor said on the Nine Network.

"Pucovski said he's ready. He's made two double-hundreds.

"Pick him while he's in form. Get him in there, because he has the potential to be a player for the next decade."

Fellow former captains Ian Chappell, Michael Clarke and Kim Hughes have expressed similar sentiments.

Pucovski has dealt with concussion and mental health issues throughout his career but recently said he feels ready for Test cricket.

The 22-year-old withdrew himself from Test selection consideration a year ago, while he left the national squad in 2018-19 to return home and focus on his wellbeing.

Taylor said that Pucovski's openness had set a great example for youngsters in any sport.

"He's been very open and honest about it right from the word go, which is not always easy," he said.

"Particularly in the sides I played in, that would've been seen as a sign of weakness. Now it's seen as a sign of strength.

"He took himself away from the game.

"He's now come back ... and publicly said 'I now feel good, I'm enjoying my cricket, I'm ready'."

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli's side and Australia's Indian Premier League stars have started training in Sydney's west.

The entire Blacktown International Sportspark precinct has been placed in lockdown as part of the quarantine exemptions that NSW Health signed off on.