JLT Sheffield Shield 2017-18
Pucovski subbed out with fresh concussion
Drama at Junction Oval after batsman hit on helmet by Sean Abbott delivery and ruled out of pivotal Shield clash
4 March 2018, 03:34 PM AEST
Victoria rising star Will Pucovski has been substituted out of the Bushrangers JLT Sheffield Shield clash with NSW at Junction Oval after being hit on the helmet and suffering yet another concussion.
Pucovski ducked into a shortish-pitched delivery that appeared to collect him on the left side of the helmet, and he dropped to his knees.
The bowler, NSW seamer Sean Abbott, was first to the batsman, and moved quickly to support Pucovski as other players and medical support staff rushed to assist.
After a period, the batsman was able to rise and walk from the field with the support of the Cricket Victoria medical staff.
Cricket Victoria Doctor Trefor James said: "Will Pucovski remained at the ground following the incident and is being treated by Cricket Victoria’s medical staff.
"Will has been ruled out of the remainder of the match and we will continue to monitor him over the coming days, and we can then determine a return to play plan for him."
Pucovski was replaced in the Victoria XI by allrounder Dan Christian.
Abbott was left visibly distressed by the incident and took some time to compose himself as teammates rallied around.
Victoria captain Aaron Finch, who replaced the retired batsman at the crease, also went to Abbott to offer his support and encouragement, and the bowler saw out his over.
The incident happened in the 19th over of Victoria's second innings in a pivotal Shield match at the newly redeveloped Junction Oval, and is the latest head knock in a worrying trend for the talented batsman.
The talented 20-year-old broke through for his maiden Sheffield Shield century last month against the ladder-leading Queensland Bulls, posting a marathon 188 before finally being dismissed.
However his athletic endeavours have been littered with head kocks. The first, and most serious, concussion injury came during football training at high school when the lightly built youth was flung in a sling tackle and his head slammed into the knee of another player, the severity of that blow consigning him to six months away from any sporting activity.
On his return to cricket, he sustained further blows. Hit while batting at training, struck by an errant ball that rifled from an adjoining practice net, even cracking his head on a door at his Hampton home.
Those incidents had left him unwell, unsteady and unable to devote the time to training as required by one driven to succeed in professional sport.
He recovered to star in the national Under 19 championships in 2016, plundering 650 runs to set a new run-scoring record, ill fortune struck again on his Sheffield Shield debut against New South Wales little more than 12 months ago.
On the day he celebrated his 19th birthday, the luckless teenager dived to field a ball driven hard towards him at mid-off only to have it 'kick' from the uneven surface of a recently used pitch, evade his outstretched hand and hit him flush on the side of the head.
Concussed again, he took no further part in his debut match, was unable to play or practice cricket for the remainder of the season and was forced to defer his degree studies at Monash University for this year's first semester as he was compelled to undertake minimal physical activity.
Then, last October he was struck on the helmet while batting in Victoria's JLT One-Day Cup match against Queensland at North Sydney Oval.
On that occasion, he passed initial concussion tests and returned to the crease later in the innings but was bowled three balls into his return, and was later confirmed to be suffering delayed onset concussion.
In November, batting at No.3 and captaining a senior Victorian side for the first time in his career, Pucovski was struck on the right side of the helmet in a Toyota Futures League match.