The father-son pact that has come back to haunt Pucovski’s dad

Be careful about the pacts you make with your kids.

Will Pucovski's father, Jan, is no fan of body art, but he's off to get some ink after an agreement he made with his then 10-year-old son that they would both get a tattoo of his Test cap number should he make it all the way to the baggy green.

Will Pucovski’s Test debut means his father Jan has to honour a pact made during the player’s childhood.Credit:Getty

Tattoos and Test cap numbers have caused some dramas in the past for Australian cricketers. Michael Slater had the number 356 etched onto his body after his debut in the 1993 Ashes series.

The problem was the opener was actually Test player No.357. Paceman Brendon Julian made his debut in the same game and caps are numbered alphabetically and not, as Slater had thought, according to batting order. The then Australian Cricket Board granted an exception for Slater.

"We'll check the paperwork, Slats," Jan said.

Setting the record straight

Still on Will Pucovski, it has taken about two years, but one of the Test newcomer's coaches has finally exercised his right to reply at being portrayed as a "hard arse" by the star batsman.

Former Victoria coach Lachlan Stevens was one of those who came to Pucovski's aid in Perth two seasons ago when the youngster was battling mental health issues during his stunning 243 against Western Australia.

"I still remember Lachie putting his arm around me and saying, 'Mate, I’m shattered for you and we will get you sorted when you’re back, but if you can do anything to get us some runs today that would be great'," Pucovski said on the The Follow-On podcast in January 2019.

Stevens, however, tells a different version of the conversation.

"He made me sound like a hard arse," Stevens joked. "I don't think I was that desperate for the six points."

The comments, though, have not been a source of tension between the pair, Stevens says, and they remain close.

"I remember feeling worried for him," Stevens, now coaching Victoria's women's team, said. "My recollection was "whatever you need us to do, we'll make sure it happens".

"He was the one who said, 'I want to play', and that's where he felt more comfortable, just doing the batting. He continued to play a wonderful innings."

ABC scraps McGilvray Medal

The pandemic has denied Pat Cummins the chance to complete a hat-trick of Alan McGilvray Medals.

Australia played just three Tests in 2020, which the ABC's judges deemed an insufficient sample size to warrant awarding its gong for the country's male Test player of the year. Tim Paine's men had been scheduled to play two Tests in Bangladesh, but the tour was postponed in April.

The travel restrictions in place meant there were also logistical issues in presenting the medal in Sydney, as Ross McGilvray, the son of the late, great caller, lives in Noosa.

Bearing in mind the ABC Grandstand panel votes on the year as a whole, rather than game by game, The Tonk cast an eye through the numbers and decided Cummins, with 14 wickets at 17.42, would have pipped Mitchell Starc's 12 at 20, and Marnus Labuschagne, who started the year with a double ton against New Zealand.

Hammond and Warner

There's a bit of symmetry in the careers of David Warner and former England great Walter Hammond. Warner's five on the first day drew him level with Hammond on 7249 runs, both reaching the mark in their 85th Test. Warner's top score is 335 not out; Hammond's 336 not out. Thanks to loyal reader Colin for that bit of statistical trivia.

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