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Ponting’s 12-year wait for ‘special’ talent

Will Pucovski was made to wait for his Baggy Green, with various hurdles delaying his Test debut.But the 22-year-old finally got the opportunity to prove his worth at Test level on Thursday, compiling a classy half-century against India at the SCG.However, former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting had identified young Pucovski as a future star…

Will Pucovski was made to wait for his Baggy Green, with various hurdles delaying his Test debut.

But the 22-year-old finally got the opportunity to prove his worth at Test level on Thursday, compiling a classy half-century against India at the SCG.

However, former Australian Test captain Ricky Ponting had identified young Pucovski as a future star of the game 12 years ago.

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An image of Ponting alongside a 10-year-old Pucovski circulated around social media on Thursday, with the baby-faced prodigy proudly smiling alongside his childhood hero.

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Speaking on Channel 7, Ponting revisited the moment he was called to the local cricket nets in Sydney to take a look at the youngster.

“That is him, believe it or not. That is Will Pucovski at about 10 or 11 years of age,” Ponting said on Thursday.

“I was living in Sydney at the time. I got a phone call and was asked to look at this young talent we have in from Victoria.

“We got him into the nets and the first ball I put in the bowling machine he absolutely creamed through the covers, and I thought he might be something special one day.”

Pucovski opened the batting alongside David Warner on Thursday morning, his first Test runs coming with an elegant glance towards fine leg.

As revealed by sports statistician “Swamp”, the previous Test debutant to face the first ball of a Test at the SCG was Colin McDonald in 1952.

Speaking to reporters after day one, Pucovski confirmed he opted to face the first ball, a decision which impressed former Australian Test opener Simon Katich.

“I think if anything it was a great snapshot into his mindset. For a young kid on debut, knowing it was Bumrah bowling the first ball, to say, ‘Yep I’m facing up and I’m taking it on’, I think that was a great insight into how he was thinking and how he’s approaching playing cricket,” Katich told SEN Breakfast.

“It didn’t look like much fazed him yesterday. It is a good batting wicket and what he did really well was he was able to score off pretty good balls.

“These guys bowl over 140 and he was still working them through mid-on or mid-wicket and some of them were decent balls, so he looks like he’s got time which is a hallmark of a lot of the great players.”

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Katich also praised Pucovski for his “uncomplicated” batting technique, but conceded the short ball remains a lingering issue for the debutant.

“He shuffles across his crease, he gets in front off stump with his back leg and his front pad and while the Indian bowlers tried to have a go at it and eventually got him out LBW, at the end of the day you’ve got a bat in your hand and if you miss them then you blame yourself,” Katich said.

“There was a few times where he did get tested on the short ball and he took it on and it looked like he was trying to get inside the line of the ball which makes it easier to play the pull shot.”

Pucovski was dismissed LBW by Indian debutant Naveep Saini for 62, his patient knock featuring four boundaries.

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