Batting star Will Pucovski has yet to return to the net a month after his 10th concussion and may not be available for Australia until in the middle of the ashes.
Pucovski will not play for Victoria against NSW at MCG in a Sheffield Shield showdown that started this Friday, which was a “touch too soon” as he continued to recover from the effects of the concussion he suffered on October 5 at work out.
Victorian coach Chris Rogers said there was a “strong desire” to get the 23-year-old on the Test squad, but everyone had a long-term view of Pucovski’s cricket future.
Rogers said Pucovski, who was the frontrunner to open with David Warner under Ashes, could be ready for one of the later tests in a “best case scenario” when he returns to full fitness.
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“He has not recovered quite as well as hoped. In discussions with the medical team and the national voters, we felt we would give him a little more time to select him to play for Victoria.
“He hasn’t started hitting the nets, I think that was the biggest concern. It’s really hard just to go into one of these games unprepared. All the people who are in these conversations understand that we have a huge talent on hand and we want him to play for five to 10 years, so those are the decisions we will make in his best interest to set him up to have a long career.
“There are some symptoms that are just a little too close to the game.”
Pucovksi trained on Wednesday and was “positive” about how his recovery tracked.
But his return may not come until an as yet unconfirmed third Sheffield Shield match in mid-November, or even a Victorian second XI match.
Rogers said it would delay any chance he would play in the Ashes until the middle of the series.
“There is no doubt that it is a setback. I would say that it is now unlikely that he would play in the first Test,” he said.
“If we’s hopefully playing a third Shield game in mid-November and there could be another XI game for Victoria too, it could prepare him for one of the games in the middle of the Ashes series. is the best case scenario.
“He was very positive about how it was all track and pretty much hope of playing soon. But he felt this match was a touch too soon.”
Rogers said Pucovski, who has not played a game since injuring his shoulder in his Test debut last January, was “frustrated” by this latest concussion and its lasting effects.
But the young star also knew he had to be completely ready when he got a playful return.
“He hasn’t played in seven months. You have to go straight back into the pot and perform against very good opposition, that would have played on his mind,” Rogers said.
“Of course he will play for Australia for a long time to come. There is a strong desire to get him on the Australian side, he is such a talented player.
“I think the decision is to take care of him and give him a little more time to prepare at the right time instead of rushing him to fights that will have a lot of intensity and scrutiny.”