MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Former Australia batsman Neil Harvey, who made his test debut at the age of 19 in Don Bradman’s formidable 1948 side, has urged selectors to consider young talents Will Pucovski and Cameron Green for the upcoming series against India.
Top order batsman Pucovski and all-rounder Green were named in Australia’s test squad but the uncapped duo may be held back from the series-opener against India at Adelaide Oval next week.
Pucovski, 22, retired hurt in the tour match against India A on Monday after being struck on the helmet by a bouncer, while 21-year-old Green would need to dislodge one of the incumbent middle order batsmen, Matthew Wade or Travis Head.
Harvey, one of Australia’s favourite cricketing sons, became the country’s youngest test centurion when he scored 153 in his second match in the 1947/48 series against India.
He went on to play 79 tests in a 15-year international career and is the last surviving member of Bradman’s ‘Invincibles’ team that played the entire 1948 tour of England without losing a match.
Australia selectors have been reluctant to rush young players into test cricket in recent years, but Harvey said youth should be no impediment.
“Having been through the whole business myself, going to England with Bradman’s Invincibles at 19 years of age, I can’t say you can start cricket (young) enough,” the 92-year-old told reporters on Wednesday after marking the 60th anniversary of Australia’s famous tied test with West Indies at the Gabba.
“If I can do it, anybody can do it … If you’re good enough, you can do it.
“If they’ve got the ability, pick them. It’s as simple as that.”
Harvey was joined by former team mate Alan Davidson on a video call with former West Indies batsman Peter Lashley, who made his debut in the first ever tied test, and spinner Lance Gibbs, the 12th man for the Caribbeans in that match.
Green struck an unbeaten 125 against India A in a tour match on Tuesday to boost his chances of test selection, and fellow all-rounder Davidson said he would only get better with experience.
“It takes time, I was never an all-rounder in the real sense until my mid-20s,” said the 91-year-old, who took 11 wickets and scored over 100 runs in the tied test.
“If it takes you two to three years, that’s OK, but in those two to three years (you’re) accumulating knowledge.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford