Australian batsman Will Pucovski sidelined after suffering 10th concussion

Pucovski was expected to open the innings in first Ashes Test in Brisbane

Australian batsman Will Pucovski's injury-ravaged career received a setback after he suffered another concussion.

Test captain Tim Paine said on Friday it was "shattering" to learn that batting prodigy Pucovski had been hit on the head again.

The 23-year-old, who scored 62 on his Test debut against India in January, is regarded as one of Australia's best batting talents. Pucovski was struck on the head this week during a nets session, reported to be his 10th concussion in a career that has seen a number of injuries and mental health issues.

"Shattering when I found out," Paine told SEN sports radio.

"I've spoken to him a bit the last few days, he's improving slowly. I don't think it's as bad as some of the others he's had before.

"But obviously with his history we have to be very careful with anything around the brain," he added. "I was devastated to hear that it happened to him."

Australia expected Pucovski to become the regular opening partner of David Warner, who has seen team mates come and go since Chris Rogers played his last Test against England in 2015.

But concussions and injuries have repeatedly thwarted Pucovski's rise. He made his long-awaited Test debut against India in Sydney in January but suffered a shoulder injury.

Paine said there was no problem with Pucovski's technique despite him suffering a number of blows to the head. "He's a good player of the short ball, you don't average 54 or so in first-class cricket if you can't play the short ball," Paine said.

"I think he's now more susceptible [to concussion] than other people. He doesn't need to be hit as hard on his head."

Cricket Victoria said in a statement on Thursday that their medical staff were working with Pucovski and "he looks forward to returning to training as soon as he is able to do so", but when that might be is unclear.

Pucovski has now been sidelined for at least part of the Ashes series, which starts on December 8 in Brisbane. Paine said he would have opened the innings against England at the Gabba.

"In my opinion, he would've partnered David Warner in that first Test match, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"But Marcus Harris is probably the guy waiting for the opportunity and he's just come back from a superb six months over in England playing for Leicestershire... and we know his first-class record has been outstanding for Victoria for a long time."

Updated: October 15th 2021, 7:35 AM
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