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Will Pucovski is running out of time to stake his claim on a spot in Australia's Ashes squad, with the batsman's state coach revealing he's still showing a "few symptoms" from a recent concussion.
Pucovski has not played since suffering a shoulder injury last summer, with his return pushed back by the latest concussion in the 23-year-old's career.
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The hit to the head in the nets last month marked the 10th concussion of Pucovski's career, as the prodigy fights to add to his Test debut in January.
Pucovski has been earmarked for his Sheffield Shield return in the match against New South Wales starting on Friday at the MCG, having played no part in the Bushrangers' win over the Blues at the SCG.
However, Victoria coach Chris Rogers admits that is in some doubt with the Bushrangers' medical team taking a cautious approach after his latest head knock.
“We’re monitoring his progress coming back from concussion,” Rogers told SEN on Monday morning.
“We travel back to Victoria today, both NSW and Victoria are on the same flight.
“We’ll all go back down to Victoria, so we’ll know more when we get in front of him.
“The medical team are constantly talking to him, so I think there’s still a few symptoms.
“We’ve just got to see what happens when it comes to Friday and our next Shield match against NSW.”
Pucovski has almost five weeks to be ready for the Gabba Test on December 8, with two weeks of quarantine also required in that period.
Rogers backed him to return to the Test side, adamant he would have him in the team as soon as he proved the concussion scare was behind him.
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Victorian captain Peter Handscomb echoed that sentiment and said Pucovski deserved to to step straight back up to international level if fit to play for his state.
"As soon as he feels he's ready to go he'll be fine," Handscomb said, when asked if Pucovski could go straight into Australia's Ashes squad upon his likely return.
"He's not one that needs to hit a lot of balls to be feeling back in the middle and timing it well.
"He's just got such a natural eye that a couple of hits and he will be ready to go.
"If he is available for our second Shield game, even on minimal hits he'll be fine.
"I'm not worried about him for our Shield game or the Ashes summer if he does get a crack."
Pucovski hasn't played a competitive match since January when he injured his shoulder fielding for Australia in a Test match against India.
The concussion in training was just another cruel blow for the young batsman but Handscomb said Pucovkski seemed in good spirits as he recovered from the latest blow.
If he does miss out, a two-way battle between Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris looms for an opening spot alongside incumbent David Warner.
Khawaja added a second century in recent weeks during Queensland's latest Sheffield Shield victory over Tasmania, while Harris is coming off an English summer in which he scored four centuries.
The Victoria opener maintained that form with a commanding century (137) alongside Handscomb (115) in the recent 204-run win over NSW that saw both players boost their chances for Ashes selection.
Harris spent seven and a half hours at the crease, completing his 19th first-class ton after a productive winter stint with Leicestershire that featured 655 red-ball runs at 54.6.
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