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Will Pucovski won’t be ready for opening Ashes Test after being ruled out of Victoria’s clash with NSW



David Warner will have a new opening partner for the Ashes after Will Pucovski’s concussion comeback hit another hurdle.

Batting star Will Pucovski hasn’t yet returned to the nets a month after his 10th concussion and may not be available for Australia until the middle of the Ashes.

Pucovski won’t play for Victoria against NSW at the MCG in a Sheffield Shield clash starting this Friday, which is a “touch too soon” as he continues to recover from the effects of the concussion suffered on October 5 at training.

Victorian coach Chris Rogers said there was a “strong desire” to get the 23-year-old into the Test team, but everyone was taking a long-term view of Pucovski’s cricket future.

Rogers said Pucovski, who was the frontrunner to open with David Warner during the Ashes, could be ready for one of the later Tests in a “best-case scenario” as he returns to full fitness.

“He hasn’t quite recovered as well as hoped. In discussions with the medical team and the national selectors it was felt we would give him a bit more time to select him to play for Victoria,” Rogers said.

“He hasn’t started hitting the nets, I think that was the main concern. It’s really difficult just to walk into one of these games unprepared. All the people who are in these conversations understand we have an immense talent on our hands and we want him to be playing for five to 10 years, so these are the decisions we are going to make in his best interests to set him up to have a long career.

“There’s some symptoms which are just a little too close to the game.”

Pucovski trained on Wednesday and was “positive” about how his recovery was tracking.

But his playing return may not come until a yet-to-be-confirmed third Sheffield Shield game in mid-November or even a Victorian second XI game.

Rogers said that would delay any chance of him playing in the Ashes until mid-series.

“No doubt it’s a setback. I’d say now it’s unlikely he’d play in the first Test,” he said.

“Hopefully, if we play a third Shield game in mid-November and there may be a second XI game for Victoria as well, that might prepare him for one of the matches in the middle of the Ashes series. That’s the best-case scenario.

“He was very positive about how it was all tracking and pretty hopeful of playing soon, but he felt this match was a touch too early.”

Rogers said Pucovski, who hasn’t played a game since injuring his shoulder in his Test debut last January, was “frustrated” by this latest concussion and its lingering effects.

But the young star also knows he has to be fully ready when he makes a playing return.

“He hasn’t played for seven months. You have to walk straight back in the cauldron and perform against very good opposition. That would have been playing on his mind,” Rogers said.

“Of course he wants to play for Australia for a long time to come. There’s a strong desire to get him into that Australian side, he’s such a talented player.

“I think the decision is to look after him and allow him a bit more time to prepare in the right time rather than rush him to matches which are going to have a lot of intensity and scrutiny.”

Originally published as Batting gun Will Pucovski won’t be ready to play for Australia until the middle of the Ashes as he recovers from another concussion




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Australian opener David Warner wants to open the batting with Will Pucovski when the Ashes starts in December



The race is on for Will Pucovski to get Ashes ready, and now he’s got the ultimate support to open for Australia.

Australian opener David Warner is all in on walking out to bat with Will Pucovski in the Ashes opener at the Gabba, labelling the young Victorian a “hell of a player”.

After just one Test together last summer against India, for partnerships of just six and 16, Warner declared 23-year-old Pucovski was “primed” for international cricket.

Pucovski is expected to make a playing return from a 10th concussion, suffered during training earlier in October, in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield clash with NSW at the MCG from November 5.

He should have two matches to show he’s ready for a return to the Test team, and everyone at Victoria who has watched him through the pre-season is adamant he’ll only need that much time to get into batting shape.

Warner said the selectors would have the final say, with Marcus Harris and potentially even Usman Khawaja in the discussion should Pucovski not come up. But the 35-year-old star knows who he wants to bat with.

“The selectors will pick the people who are in form, bring it down to who they think are the right two or three candidates, then make a decision,” Warner said.

“Looking back, Puck was in waiting, then he played (his one Test), then hurt his shoulder and he’s been recovering. But he’s a hell of a player, he’s primed and right for international cricket.

“If I was to make a judgment call, he’s the first person who is on the top of their list.”

Warner dismissed any issues over a combination of two left-handers if Pucovski isn’t available despite the damage veteran English fats bowler Stuart Broad did to the lefties in the 2019 Ashes.

Broad removed Warner seven times in 10 innings as the opener managed a mere 95 runs, only passing 11 once.

But Warner said things would be different in Australia.

“Australia is different when it comes to left-hand batting and the opposition,” he said.

“We know the conditions. I can’t see the ball reacting to the wicket like it did in England. In Australia you can leave a lot of balls on length, in England those length balls are hitting the stumps.

“It doesn’t worry me too much what the (opening) combination is. Whoever the selectors decide to choose, they will pick the person who is in form.”

Victorian coach Chris Rogers said as long as Pucovski looked “comfortable” when he made his batting return, he’d be ready to step back up to Test level

“The first thing you want to see is him playing well and be comfortable out in the middle, particularly playing the short ball. How many games they want to see that in, I can’t tell you that,” Rogers said.

“He can come out and get a 200 and walk into the Test team and get a 60. You know when you throw balls to him, it’s different, I think perhaps they just want to see him go out and look comfortable and them maybe they’ll be confident to pick him.

“If he went out and scored a big score, I’d definitely pick him.”

Originally published as Australian opener David Warner wants to open the batting with Will Pucovski when the Ashes starts in December




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