The Australia Test captain Tim Paine said that mental wellbeing is their first priority. Australia is going to play a two-Test series against Pakistan and Will Pucovski made himself unavailable for the Test squad in order to focus on his mental health. Apart from him, Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson have also taken a break from the game to deal with mental health issues. The first match between Australia and Pakistan will be played in Brisbane from November 21-25.
Speaking to the media, Tim Paine said, "He's (Pucovski) a great young kid and it's sad to see him going through this. We know how talented he is. I think making the right decision to step away and take care of himself and get himself healthy and in the right state of mind is going to be important because we think he's someone who's got a huge Test future."
"But first and foremost we want Will to be a happy young man, and I think sometimes we forget that he's still a kid. He's had a lot of pressure put on him from outside sources, and expectation and hopefully he's in a position in the next few years to fulfill that potential that he's got. The first priority for us, and for Will, is his mental wellbeing," he added.
Paine then said that it is incorrect to call it a 'cricket-related issue'. "I think to say it's a cricket-related issue is wrong. I think it's a big issue in all walks of life. It's a very complex issue, we know that and I think Cricket Australia and cricket, in general, have supported the three guys in particular that are having a spell at the moment," he said.
"We can only be there to support, and hopefully their mental wellbeing is in a good place eventually, and we can get those guys back out playing cricket. It's what they do, and it's for us to support them and help them through some difficult times," Paine added.
Cricket Australia Team Psychologist Dr. Michael Lloyd said that Maxwell had been experiencing some difficulties with regards to his mental health. As a result, he was going to spend some time away from the game. He added that Maxwell was proactive in identifying these issues and engaging with support staff. Oliver said that the well-being of the players and staff was of utmost importance and extended the Board's support to him.
He went on to say that Cricket Australia was going to collaborate with Cricket Victoria's support staff to ensure Glenn's well-being and his reintegration into the game. He urged everyone to give Glenn, his family and friends space and requested them to respect their privacy. Oliver added that Maxwell was a special player and an important part of the Australian cricket family, and he wanted to see him back in the team during the summer. Maxwell's decision was met with a lot of sensitivity from the Cricket Board, ashe executive general manager of the Australian team Ben Oliver said that the well-being of the players and staff was paramount.
(with ANI inputs)