CA treads care­fully as duo re­turns

No rush on de­ci­sion over pair

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

CRICKET Aus­tralia’s hi­er­ar­chy is tip­toe­ing cau­tiously through un­char­tered ter­ri­tory as it weighs up the prom­ise of boom young­ster Will Pu­cov­ski and ex­cite­ment ma­chine Nic Maddin­son.

Se­lec­tors an­nounced an un­changed squad to face New Zealand in a three-Test se­ries start­ing next week, ex­cept for the fact they omit­ted Cameron Ban­croft as a reflection of just how set­tled Aus­tralia’s top six is af­ter thump­ing Pak­istan.

It meant a call did not need to be made on the prospect of Pu­cov­ski or Maddin­son com­ing in as a spare bats­man – how­ever, it may only be a matter of time un­til such a de­ci­sion needs to be made.

Maddin­son was firmly in the se­lec­tion frame at the start of the sum­mer, be­fore with­draw­ing on the eve of the Aus­tralia A se­lec­tion trial match against Pak­istan due to men­tal health is­sues.

Pu­cov­ski was all-but pen­ciled in to make the first Test team against Pak­istan, un­til he too asked not to be con­sid­ered for se­lec­tion as he took time away to fo­cus on his own men­tal health.

Both men re­turned to State cricket last week and picked up from where they left off — each mak­ing first-up half cen­turies for Vic­to­ria at the MCG. Cricket Aus­tralia has shown lead­er­ship in the way it has han­dled the re­cent run of men­tal health con­cerns raised by Maddin­son, Pu­cov­ski, Glenn Maxwell and women’s star So­phie Mo­lineux.

How­ever, par­tic­u­larly in the case of Maddin­son and Pu­cov­ski, the great un­known re­mains how and when to nom­i­nate them again for na­tional se­lec­tion.

Men­tal health is not the same as re­cov­er­ing from a ham­string strain, and Cricket Aus­tralia has al­ready made it clear that the brav­ery of those in­volved to put their hands up would not im­pede their se­lec­tion hopes in the fu­ture in any way.

Na­tional se­lec­tor Trevor Hohns in­di­cated yes­ter­day the man­age­ment of their re­turn as se­lec­tion can­di­dates has been and will con­tinue to be a com­pre­hen­sive — but com­pli­cated — process in­volv­ing team psy­chol­o­gists and in­put from Vic­to­rian of­fi­cials.

“That’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion for me to an­swer. We did do our checks. I can’t re­ally an­swer that (whether they were avail­able for se­lec­tion) right now,” said Hohns.

“That comes from the psy­chol­o­gist at­tached to Cricket Aus­tralia, so we ob­vi­ously do checks on those sort of guys from time to time.

“Two of them, as we know (Maddin­son and Pu­cov­ski) have played Sh­effield Shield cricket, (but) that does not nec­es­sar­ily mean they’re avail­able for rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Aus­tralia.”

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