'I wanted to reach out': Henriques keen to give helping hand to Pucovski
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'I wanted to reach out': Henriques keen to give helping hand to Pucovski

One of the first players to reach out to Will Pucovski after he took time out from the game to deal with his mental health was Moises Henriques.

Like Australia's latest Test bolter Pucovski, Henriques has had his own well-documented battle with depression, even taking a short break from the game 12 months ago.

Mental battle: Will Pucovski took time of at the end of last year due to mental health issues.

Mental battle: Will Pucovski took time of at the end of last year due to mental health issues.Credit:AAP

When Henriques heard about the 20-year-old Victorian who had clubbed a Sheffield Shield double century in Perth back in October before taking time off to get treatment, he made a point of getting in contact.

"Obviously he was going through something similar to myself, and I wanted to reach out,'' Henriques told The Herald. "I asked for his number off one of the boys and wanted to touch base with him.

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"I had heard a lot of reports he was a fantastic kid. I wanted to let him know I was thinking about him.

"Even leading into that he was doing his own stuff and working on his balance in his life.

Helping hand: Moises Henriques gave Will Pucovski a call when he heard he was taking time off for mental health issues.

Helping hand: Moises Henriques gave Will Pucovski a call when he heard he was taking time off for mental health issues.Credit:AAP

"He's a well-balanced kid and from what I've heard he has a strong family around him. As long as he's made some nice change and feels ready to go, then good on him."

Given the age and experience and Pucovski's mental battles, the question will be asked what kind of emotions he might experience if thrown on to the international stage then quickly spat out.

Henriques could not speak for Pucovski when asked that very question and said: "You have to be in that moment or on that journey yourself.

"My first reaction when I heard the [selection news] was I was excited for him. He's a fantastic talent and a terrific cricketer.

"I haven't spoken to Will in recent weeks, but I'm assuming there's been some really positive change for him and I can only assume the Australian cricket team has been in communication with Will and his family and there has been a collective decision about what's best for Australian cricket and him as well.

"He's such a young man, obviously there's no rush to throw him into the cauldron, but if he feels he's ready to go he's definitely a good enough cricketer."

Henriques took time out from the Big Bash 12 months ago and told ABC's 7.30 in November: "My life couldn't have been better ... I live in a really nice suburb, the beach is 500 metres away, I've got a fiancee who I trust and [who] loves me ... and a great bunch of friends, a great bunch of support networks, and here I was weeping into my own hands. It was just bizarre."

Pucovski said this week he was meditating daily and had engaged a mindfulness coach. He was struggling so much midway through a Shield game he called his parents and confided in the coaching staff, only to return to the crease and become the youngest player since Ricky Ponting to post a double Shield ton before his 21st birthday.

"It’s one of those things where it is a day-by-day proposition for me that I have to manage. I think it is a good thing to invest time in," the right-hander said this week.

Pucovski already has two first-class centuries and will play club cricket in Melbourne on Saturday as the countdown commences to his first potential Test against Sri Lanka at The Gabba. He will take part in a batting shootout in Hobart against Sri Lanka in a warm-up game next week.

Mark Waugh told Sky Sports Radio on Friday about Pucovski's shock selection: "Whether he plays in the Test at the Gabba against Sri Lanka I'm not sure, but it's probably worth the gamble. I must admit it wa sa bit left field for me, I didn't think they'd go for a guy that young, but he's a very talented player, he's had a few issues with concussion, but he's set to go and if he gets a run I hope he does really well.''

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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