Premier Cricket

Pucovski laid low with suspected concussion

Promising Victoria teenager ruled out of Futures League clash with suspected concussion

Cricket Network

20 November 2017, 03:56 PM AEST

Talented Victoria teenager Will Pucovski has suffered another setback in his blossoming cricket career after being ruled out of Victoria's Toyota Futures League match with a suspected concussion.

Pucovski was struck on the helmet while batting for the Bushrangers on the first day of the match against Tasmania at Casey Fields. 

The 19-year-old, batting at three and captaining a senior Victorian side for the first time in his career, was struck on the right side of the helmet by quick Nick Buchanan after facing 20 balls.

Pucovski was able to walk to the sideline where he was assesed by the paramedics at the ground, before being withdrawn from the match.

Pucovski cuts for the CA XI in a tour match against England last week // Getty
Pucovski cuts for the CA XI in a tour match against England last week // Getty

"Will Pucovski 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," Cricket Victoria doctor Trefor James said.

Promising Essendon Cricket Club batsman Aaron Ayre replaced him in Victoria's XI, with the hosts declaring on 9-265 before Tasmania (0-22) safely negotiated four overs before stumps.

Pucovski's latest blow follows an unfortunate history of heavy head knocks for the rising star.

He was also struck on the helmet while batting in Victoria's JLT One-Day Cup match against Queensland at North Sydney Oval in early October.

Pucovski retires hurt after JLT Cup helmet blow

The right-hander returned to the crease later in that innings after passing initial concussion testing, facing three more balls before he was bowled by Mitchell Swepson for 5.

But after further monitoring and secondary testing, Pucovski displayed symptoms and was diagnosed with concussion.

He did not play in the tournament again and, having played two Premier Cricket games for Melbourne Cricket Club - including crashing 136 against Essendon - returned to Victoria's Futures League side this week.

Pucovksi, who last summer broke the Under 19 National Championships run-scoring record at a single tournament, received multiple head knocks during his teenage years and was again concussed in February when he was struck in the head while fielding on Sheffield Shield debut.

Pucovski breaks U19 Champs runs record

He took no further part in the match and was unable to play for the remainder of the season as doctors advised her undertook minimal physical activity.

The first, and most serious concussion he suffered came while training for Australian Rules football at high school when the then lightly-built Pucovski was flung in a sling tackle and his head slammed into the knee of another player. The severity of that blow consigned him to six months away from any sporting activity.

Further blows followed on his return to cricket. He was hit while batting at training, struck by an errant ball hit from an adjoining practice net, and once even cracked his head on a door at his Hampton home.

He has attributed his repeated episodes of significant head trauma as "dumb luck, to a large extent" but has added that medical experts have told him he carries a certain predisposition to concussive injury because of his unfortunate history.

"But they are pretty confident there will be no long-term effects and I feel pretty good," Pucovski told earlier this year.

"I remember before the (Sheffield Shield) game, I've never been so nervous in my life.

"I could hardly sleep the night before and then when the game started I was okay.

"The first few balls when I was batting I was really nervous, but then I got into it and was just enjoying the experience until it all got taken away.

"The blow was pretty innocuous, it hit me pretty hard but it was fairly random.

"I've never been hit in the head while fielding that I can remember, and then in my first Shield game the ball just skips up off the turf and got me.

"It was pretty rough the night that I got hit, trying to come to terms with the situation - that it had happened again.

"I'd got a taste for cricket at that level and loved it, and hopefully there is more to come but maybe it was the universe telling me not to get too far ahead of myself."

On a recommendation of the Curtain Review into the death of Phillip Hughes, Cricket Australia altered its playing conditions last summer to permit the use of substitutes for players diagnosed with a concussion and the ICC have since approved a push for a two-year trial in first-class cricket.

Tasmania batsman Jordan Silk suffered a blow to the helmet in a Sheffield Shield match against Victoria at the MCG and became the first first-class player substituted this month, replace by Jake Doran.

"We strongly believe that the rules we've got in place are good for the sport and the player," CA's head of cricket operations Peter Roach told in September.

"We would be heavily surprised if we weren't reporting favourable things from the trial and other countries weren't desperate to follow suit.

"The prominence of concussions is growing and awareness should continue to grow. We do play a sport that, while far from a regular occurrence, does have instances of concussions.

"We are making every effort to protect the player and we make no apology for it."