Vodafone Men's Ashes
Luckless Pucovksi recovering from another concussion
The Australia and Victoria opener has been considered the favourite to partner David Warner in the Ashes this summer
14 October 2021, 06:01 PM AEST
UPDATE: Luckless Test opener Will Pucovski is once again managing concussion symptoms after he was struck in the head during a training session last week.
Cricket Victoria has confirmed Pucovski was hit last Tuesday, October 5, and it's understood the 23-year-old is still experiencing symptoms.
The latest knock is a concern given he has suffered nine previous concussions.
"Will is currently managing his recovery in consultation with CV's medical staff," Cricket Victoria said in a statement.
"He looks forward to returning to training as soon as he is able to do so."
Pucovski is the hot favourite to be David Warner's opening partner in the Ashes against England this summer, but it's not yet clear when he'll be back on the park again, not least because he remains in lockdown in Melbourne.
That's the same predicament facing his state teammate Marcus Harris, who opened with Warner in Australia's most recent Test match, against India in January.
Australia Test captain Tim Paine said news of Pucovski's latest bout of concussion was "shattering when I found out".
"I've spoken to him a bit the last few days," Paine said on SEN Hobart.
"He is improving slowly. I don't think it's as bad as some of the others he's had before but with his history we have to be very careful.
"I was devastated to hear it's happened again.
"He's still hoping to be ready at some stage this summer. He's got plenty of support around him, and we know how good he is so there's no need to rush him at the moment.
"He's 22-23 years of age, he's got a lot of time in the game if we can get it right."
Victoria and NSW are hopeful of playing some Marsh Sheffield Shield matches against each other in the coming weeks, and Pucovski had been confident that he would be fit for those games despite off-season shoulder surgery.
"It's recovering as quickly as it can, which is good," he told cricket.com.au last month of his shoulder.
"I've been batting pretty much about 90 per cent in the nets, which has been really good. So it's been fun to get back into it.
"There's just a few little things to tick off, but everything's going in the right direction, which is really nice."
The talented right-hander, who averages 53 at first-class level and made his Test debut earlier this year, hasn't played any cricket at all since that Test at the SCG in January, when he injured his shoulder.
So unlucky has Pucovski been on the injury front that he has played just five games of high-level cricket since January last year, before the pandemic, which have been a microcosm of his brilliant yet luckless career to date.
He was forced to retire hurt in two of those five games due to concussion, his participation in his Test debut ended early due to that shoulder problem, while he scored record-breaking double hundreds for Victoria in the other two games.
Pucovski's luckless run with concussion began in high school when he suffered a head knock during a game of Australian Rules football, which sidelined from all sporting activities for six months.
He's also previously cracked his head on a doorknob in his family home, been struck by a ball that ricocheted from an adjacent net, and fallen head-first into the ground when running between wickets after his bat plugged into the turf.
He told cricket.com.au in June that playing in a maiden Ashes campaign this summer was keeping him motivated through his long rehabilitation from shoulder surgery.
"(The Ashes) keep you sane in the morning when you wake up and are going through all the (rehab) exercises," he said.
More to come ...
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium