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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Bureau of Meteorology forecast intense rain, storms and showers for NSW

NSW is set for a soggy coming week as storms move across the state, bringing a month’s worth of rainfall to some parts in just 24 hours.

NSW is set for a very wet eight days with heavy rainfall and flash flooding forecast across much of the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting Wednesday could be the wettest day since September last year for some western parts of the state, which could see more than a month’s worth of rainfall in 24 hours.

There will be the potential for severe thunderstorms through the state’s west on Wednesday and Thursday.

Frequent but patchy showers and thunderstorms are expected to make their way east and drench some regions more than others.

The rain should reach Sydney on Thursday and continue well into next week.

“Due to the showery nature of the rain, totals are likely to be rather variable and some areas may see much larger accumulations than others if showers continue to fall in the same location,” weather forecaster Hugh McDowell said.

The heavy rainfall could also lead to flash flooding in parts of NSW.

“Due to high levels of moisture in the atmosphere, there is an increased risk of heavy rainfall that will result in flash flooding and may result in some roads to become blocked and inaccessible,” Mr McDowell said.

The showers are expected to be more widespread on Thursday, particularly over much of the inland and the southeast, with the possibility of severe thunderstorms.

The weather bureau expects the showers to concentrate on the eastern half of the state on Friday.

More rain is forecast for Sunday and Monday, particularly over the southeast.

Originally published as Month of rain in one day tipped for parts of NSW, with showers and storms forecast

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ABC’s $184k legal blowout | Herald Sun

The ABC managing director has again been forced to defend his decision to pay the legal costs of star reporter Louise Milligan.

The ABC has been forced to defend its decision to pay legal costs for journalist Louise Milligan in a defamation case brought by backbencher Andrew Laming.

In August, Ms Milligan agreed to pay Dr Laming $79,000 plus costs for a series of tweets posted in March, which he alleged were defamatory.

Dr Laming was cleared of any criminal offence related to the allegations in April.

ABC Managing Director David Andersen told a Senate estimates committee he alone made the decision to pay the costs and the board was not consulted.

“I made that decision on the 25th of May,” Mr Anderson said on Tuesday.

“This matter did come up before the board on the ninth of June. The circumstances by which we provided an indemnity to Ms Milligan were explained.”

The managing director said the decision to pay the legal costs was made based on legal advice that the ABC could be “vicariously liable” for Ms Milligan’s tweets and the risk of being joined to proceedings.

“The potential for the agency to be joined in proceedings and the potential financial exposure to the ABC, unless we created common interest privilege to hold off those proceedings, and to be able to settle them as fast as we could,” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson confirmed the costs for the defamation case has totalled $184,000 so far.

He indicated further costs could be possible.

On Monday evening, Australian National Audit Office officials were quizzed about their decision not to investigate the ABC for paying Ms Milligan’s legal costs in the matter.

In a letter to Senator Eric Abetz, Auditor-General Grant Hehir said he was unable to judge the appropriateness of the decision because there was no policy or precedent for it.

Mr Hehir told the estimates hearing that since there were no documents related to the decision, the ANAO could only make a decision based on the testimony of the ABC.

The lack of documentation, the auditor-general said, was not usual.

“Normally you’d have an expectation that they would document those decisions … that’s something you’d expect to see.”

Asked if the decision was appropriate, Mr Hehir said it was “hard to say without evidence one way or the other”.

“Not being able to form an opinion is a reasonably strong statement from that perspective.”

Originally published as ABC board not consulted over decision to cover journalist’s legal costs

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