Will Pucovski has lingering concussion symptoms and is still under a cloud entering this week’s Sheffield Shield game between Victoria and New South Wales at the MCG – previously flagged as his most likely return date ahead of the Ashes.
After suffering a knock to the head in training some weeks ago, Pucovski’s chances of playing in the opening Test against England at the Gabba from December 8 have diminished through his inability to make the delayed start date for NSW and Victoria in the Shield.
Nevertheless, he remains firmly in the thoughts of the national selectors, who will be as interested in his progress this week as his state coach, Chris Rogers. Regardless of whether he plays this week, Pucovski can be expected to be a part of the large Australia/Australia A squad set to be chosen ahead of the Ashes.
“We’re monitoring his progress coming back from concussion,” Rogers told SEN Radio. “We’ll know more when we get in front of him. I think the medical team are constantly talking to him, so I think there’s still a few symptoms.
“So we’ve just got to see what happens when it comes to Friday and our next Shield match against New South Wales.”
Casting his eye over numerous players putting their hands up for several contested spots in the Test batting lineup, Rogers said a planned three-day game between Australia and Australia A during preparation for the Gabba Test may well be required to help make a final decision.
“Usman Khawaja has to be right up there, you can’t score that many runs and not be in the conversation,” he said. “Travis Head has also been doing incredibly as well – it’s that one position at five or six, because Cam Green is a lock in there as well.
“So that’s going to be a challenge to know who is going to be the one. It might come down to who plays the best in the Australia v Australia A three-day game leading into the Ashes. That’s still up in the air.”
Queensland captain Khawaja is presently top of the Shield aggregates with a pair of centuries against South Australia and Tasmania, while the incumbent Marcus Harris, Head, and Green have also topped three figures. New selection chair George Bailey has been at pains to reassure players in contention that they will not just be judged on this season’s scoring alone.
The Victoria and NSW squads shared a flight from Sydney down to Melbourne on Monday, with the host side’s players able to return to their homes under Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions. The Blues are accommodated within a similarly tight bubble to assure the smooth travel of any Australian squad members up to Queensland afterwards.
Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.
Source: | This article originally belongs to smh.com.au