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Marcus Harris brought into Australian squad for first Test, Pucovski ruled out

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12th December, 2020
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Will Pucovski has been denied a Test debut in Adelaide after Australian officials set Boxing Day as a target for the concussed opener.

Medical staff on Saturday made the call to rule Pucovski out of the first Test against India, after his serious blow to the head on Tuesday.

Fellow Victorian Marcus Harris has been brought into the squad as was previously expected, with David Warner ruled out earlier in the week with a groin injury.

“I’m in the right place at the right time,” Harris told Fox Sports.

“It’s been good, not to be the one that’s spoken about too much.

“I feel pretty ready to go … like I’ve been playing really well.”

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Pucovski’s unavailability comes as a bitter aftermath to his ninth career concussion.

He looked in good spirits leaving Drummoyne Oval after his knock to the head from a Kartik Tyagi short ball, but was left behind in Sydney to recover after suffering mild concussion symptoms.

The 22-year-old had been in irresistible form heading into the international summer, hitting two double centuries in two Sheffield Shield games for Victoria.

That has been in stark contrast to the wretched run of Joe Burns, whose average of 7.62 in eight first-class innings this summer is sure to have left selectors in serious doubt for Thursday.

“We are disappointed for David and Will that they will not be available for the first Test,” national selector Trevor Hohns said. 

Will Pucovski

Will Pucovski (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

“We have taken a conservative approach in managing Will since he sustained the concussion and hope he and David will be back to full health ahead of the Boxing Day Test.”

If Pucovski and Warner do return for the second Test in Melbourne, it will create an even more interesting situation for selectors given Burns’s form and Harris’s call up.

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If selected in the team, Thursday will mark Harris’s first Test since the 2009 Ashes where he hit just 58 runs at an average of 9.66 in three Tests.

However, he does look to have shown large steps of improvement under new Victoria coach and former left-hand Test opener Chris Rogers.

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He hit 239 in a record-breaking Sheffield Shield partnership of 486 with Pucovski against South Australia earlier this summer.

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The 28-year-old has also shown promise in the three innings against the Indians in tour matches. 

“Given the spate of injuries in recent weeks, we’re fortunate to be able to bring a player of Marcus’s calibre into the Test squad,” Hohns said. 

“Marcus has been in outstanding form for Victoria this season and has had the benefit of facing India’s bowlers in both three-day tour matches at Drummoyne and under lights at the SCG.”  

© AAP