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Will Pucovski at centre of fresh retirement fears after latest incident for Victoria

The 26-year-old cricket star is once again facing an uncertain future.

There are fresh concerns that Will Pucovski will be forced to retire from cricket prematurely after the 26-year-old suffered another sickening head knock in the Sheffield Shield. Batting for Victoria against Tasmania on Sunday, Pucovski was struck on the helmet by Riley Meredith on just the second delivery he faced.

The ball didn't appear to get up as high as Pucovski was expecting and he failed to get out of the way. The 26-year-old, who has suffered a reported 11 concussions throughout his career, immediately fell to the ground holding his head as trainers rushed onto the field to help him.

Will Pucovski, pictured here during the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and Tasmania.
Will Pucovski suffered another awful blow during the Sheffield Shield clash between Victoria and Tasmania. Image: Getty/Cricket.com.au

Pucovski could be seen dry-wretching and spitting as he was attended to. The Victorian batter was forced to retire hurt and the team announced that he'd been subbed out of the game.

"Pucovski ... is being monitored by medical staff," Victoria said in a statement. "More information will be provided at a later stage."

The latest incident raises fresh concerns over Pucovski's future in the game, as well as his short and long term health. The batter was long touted as a superstar of the future, but has only played one Test match for Australia to date.

Fresh fears about Will Pucovski's future in cricket

He has taken a number of breaks from the game to deal with mental health issues, which have been sparked by the concussions. As well as the dozen or so concussions he's suffered, Pucovski has also been struck down by injury throughout his career - most notably when he hurt his shoulder while diving in the field during his lone Test match against India in January 2021.

"I sort of link the mental health stuff back to my first concussion ... which was when I was about 15 or 16," he said earlier this year. "I have a lot of concussion symptoms that over a seven or eight year period, actually never subsided.

"You just sort of got used to having them in a way. The brain's pretty amazing and can find ways to adapt. I would fail concussion tests in the exact same way every single time, regardless of whether I had been hit in the head, and that was over a seven or eight year period.

"I try to see concussion as an injury that has happened in the past. If you get hit, just deal with it again, you'll be OK. But the mental health side, it's been about accepting that's my bigger challenge.

Will Pucovski in the Sheffield Shield.
Will Pucovski is treated by medical staff after being struck on the helmet. (Getty Images)

"Concussion stuff's one thing. I feel like I've ticked off a lot in that space. The mental side is what's going to be a bit more challenging. That desire and want to be a professional cricketer and play at the highest level has never gone away, but I've just had these challenges that have been pretty big road blocks.

"But I feel like after years of searching, I've found a solution to that to a very strong degree. I'm not expecting that it's going to be a clean run and that it's going to be all sunshine and rainbows from here. But the positivity I've generated from that is absolute huge."

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Last month Pucovski scored his first century at first-class level in three years, renewing hope that he could return to the Test arena in the near future. "To get that first hundred back, I sort of look at it as a bit of a second chance at a career which I've been very lucky to have," he said on SEN radio.

"(That second chance) is because of the support I've had from my state, my teammates, everyone that's been around me like my family and my friends. It just sort of feels like hopefully, I can start to sort of repay that faith that a lot of people have had in me when it probably would have been easier to give up … and I was pretty close to giving up on myself at some stages. So, it did feel sort of extra special I think in that regard, it sort of felt like a first hundred."

with AAP

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