Runs after concussions key for Pucovski

Scott Bailey
·3-min read

Will Pucovski's ability to bounce back from numerous concussions with tons of runs could give selectors confidence he is ready to make his Test debut against India in Sydney.

Pucovski was set to rejoin Australia's Test squad on Thursday night for the first time in three-and-a-half weeks after being felled by a short ball in a tour match against India.

Australia still have a decision to make at the top of the order after dropping Joe Burns from the squad for next week's third Test, with the series level at 1-1.

David Warner will also rejoin the group over the weekend and is expected to be fit to open in Sydney, but mystery surrounds who will partner him after Matt Wade's brief stint there.

Pucovksi will bat in two crucial net sessions over the weekend before the team flies to Sydney on Monday, having not faced a ball in a match since that December 8 blow.

But as he nears completion of concussion protocols, there is a belief in the Australian camp that the youngster has no issue scoring runs after periods out.

His maiden first-class century in 2018 came just months after suffering two concussion, with only minor hits in between for a Cricket Australia XI against England.

He has also made double-centuries in his last two returns from lengthy stints out with concussions, those times after far longer stints on the sideline.

Regardless, his former Victoria coach and now Australia assistant Andrew McDonald said the runs show the blows had no impact on his batting on return.

"We do know with the history that Will has had, and with my time with him at Victoria ... he had a pretty good track record of performing when he has returned," McDonald said.

"I think they (the selectors) will be a bit of trust put into the player around whether he's mentally ready.

"And clearly it will be up to the coach once he lays eyes on him to see where he's at in terms of being skill ready.

"But history would suggest that he says he's right to perform he's done it a few times and had a good return, so suggest they'll put trust into the player."

Pucovski would almost certainly face a short-ball barrage from India if he plays at the SCG, given his recent troubles.

If picked, it would also create a squeeze in the middle order for selectors.

McDonald on Thursday reasserted that Australia still saw Wade as a middle-order batsman, who will go back there once the openers are settled.

That would likely put the heat on Travis Head, who has made scores of seven, 38 and 17 and got out playing a loose shots in the second innings in Melbourne.

"Is Wade and Warner the best opening combination for us at this point in time? I think a lot of that will depend on how Will Pucovski is," McDonald said.

"I would suggest (Wade)'s best batting position is in the middle ... and that's probably where he's best suited."