Victorian teenager Will Pucovski arrived in Adelaide a fortnight ago just wanting to enjoy eight games of cricket with his mates.
He returns to Melbourne today as a bonafide star in the making, after dominating bowling attacks and breaking records left, right and centre at the 2016-17 Under 19 National Championships.
National Talent Manager Greg Chappell has labelled Pucovski’s efforts “phenomenal”, while Victorian Bushrangers coach Andrew McDonald says Pucovski is an “immense talent” who will no doubt be on the radar of every state side in Australia.
Pucovski, 18, was not only the tournament’s leading run scorer, but was also - as expected - named in the Team of the Championships and as Player of the Championships.
With 650 runs from eight innings, including four centuries, the Victoria Metro skipper broke the long-standing runs record set by Queensland’s Jerry Cassel (568) way back in 1993-94 and has set a new mark that looks likely to stand for a long, long time.
“Yeah it is nice from a personal point of view,” Pucovski said.
“Obviously the team probably didn’t have the success we were hoping for, in terms of going deep in the competition, but we ended up finishing the tournament six-and-two which was really nice. We had a couple of good wins to cap it off, and it’s been a really good two weeks.
“I’ve enjoyed being out there and enjoyed playing cricket I guess, and it’s worked out for me which has been nice.
“Hopefully I can continue to go on with that, but I understand cricket’s a tough game and there’s going to be highs and there’s going to be lows, and you’ve just got to ride everything as it comes.”
Pucovski, who missed a significant amount of cricket last year due to a battle with concussion, is now back to 100 per cent and has relished the opportunity just to play the game he loves.
He received the leading run-scorer award from Cassell at the tournament presentation night at Adelaide Oval last night.
While he still can’t split his four consecutive hundreds - “as a batsman, every time you make 100 it’s pretty special” - there’s no doubting that those who watched Pucovski pile on runs at the Under 19 National Championships won’t be forgetting his feats anytime soon.
“I think we won all the games that I made them in, so that was good, that’s what makes them even,” Pucovski said.
The modest teenager acknowledges it’s nice to hold the record - but for him now, it’s all about building on his achievements at the carnival as he pursues a career in cricket.
“It’s obviously nice to have the honour of being the leading run-scorer, but at the same time it’s not playing on my mind - I’m not going to worry about it too much,” he said.
“It’s just about doing what I can to maximise my cricket career.
“If someone breaks it next year I’ll be more than happy for them.”