Uncapped prodigy cleared for Test debut
Uncapped batsman Will Pucovski has been cleared by an independent neurologist to play in the New Year’s Test match at the SCG.
Pucovski suffered concussion symptoms after being struck in the head by a bouncer during a warm-up match against India A at Drummoyne Oval last month.
It was his ninth concussion in six years.
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The 22-year-old was withdrawn from the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but Australian coach Justin Langer confirmed he is fully fit ahead of the SCG fixture.
“Will saw an independent neurologist, and he has seen a couple now, and I think the real heartening thing for him is whilst he has had a few concussions in the past, and they have come in different ways, it is not necessarily going to have any long-term impact on him,” Langer told reporters on Tuesday.
“I think if you can put your mind at rest with that, then that is a real positive for him. He is in a great frame of mind. He is incredibly positive about playing cricket. He has trained hard this week.
“The only way to get back on the horse is to get back on the horse.
Will Pucovski of Australia.Source:Getty Images
“He, ultimately, is the one that has to make the decision. Everyone will have a different opinion on it. He is the one that has got to walk out there and face the short-pitched bowling, whether it be from India or whether it’s from South Australia or whether it’s from Western Australia. He is the one that has got to have the courage to get back on the horse.
“He wants to do that and that’s a really positive sign moving forward.”
Pucovski took part in net sessions on Monday and Tuesday, during which he faced short-pitched bowling with ease.
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Langer also confirmed it was “very, very likely” David Warner would be selected for the New Year’s Test despite not fully recovering from a groin injury sustained in the one-day series against India.
The 34-year-old has not played any long format cricket since last season’s Test match against New Zealand at the SCG.
“He’s moving pretty well. He’s very determined to play,” Langer said.
“He’s going to be playing with pain though and it’s not so much in the muscle but in the tendon area.
“We’re confident that unless he does something exactly like he did in the one-day international, it’s not something that’s going to re-injure him.
“He’s going to have some pain … but he’s willing to take that on and hopefully it won’t hamper him too much.”
Justin Langer, coach of Australia.Source:Getty Images
If Warner and Pucovski are both selected for the third Test, middle-order batsman Travis Head would almost certainly be the player who loses their spot in the starting XI.
“We’ve got some other decisions to make with our batting order,” Langer conceded.
“We’ll get some eyes on Will, eyes on our players and make some decisions – probably after this afternoon’s session.
“Will has still got a few boxes to tick today then we weigh up whether this Test match is right, or the next Test match is right. Time will tell.”
The national selectors are not expected to make a final decision on the starting XI until Wednesday afternoon.
The third Test between Australian and India will commence on Thursday at the SCG with 25 per cent crowd capacity.
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