Test cricket captain Tim Paine says he was “shattered” when he heard young gun Will Pucovski had suffered another head hit and concussion which has left him in doubt for the Ashes campaign.
Cricket Victoria confirmed Pucovski received a knock to the head in training with Victoria last week.
“Will is currently managing his recovery in consultation with CV’s medical staff,” a statement read. “We look forward to having him back at training as soon as he’s recovered.”
It was previously reported as the 10th concussion of Pucovski’s young career, but Paine described the latest blow as the 15th or 16th concussion.
Paine, speaking on his regular slot on Hobart SEN radio said it was “shattering when I found out.
“I’ve spoken to him a bit the last few days. He is improving slowly. I don’t think it’s as bad as some of the others he’s had before but with his history we have to be very careful with anything around the brain. I was devastated to hear it’s happened again.”
While there has been no confirmation of how long he will be sidelined, and the Ashes seven weeks away, Paine said Pucovski was “still hoping to be ready at some stage this summer.
“He’s got plenty of support around him, and we know how good he is so there’s no need to rush him at the moment. He’s 22-23 years of age, he’s got a lot of time in the game if we can get it right.”
Paine said Pucovski had the inside running to partner David Warner in the first Test starting on December 8.
“It’s a blow, no doubt,” Paine said.
“In my opinion, he would’ve partnered Warner in that first Test match, there’s no doubt about that.
“But Marcus Harris is probably the guy waiting for the opportunity and he’s just come back from a superb six months over in England playing for Leicestershire in county cricket and we know his first-class record has been outstanding for Victoria for a long time.
“He’s probably the frontrunner now for that role.”
Paine, meanwhile, reacted enthusiastically to reports that Ben Stokes could make it back from a finger injury to play a part in the series.
“If he does (make it out for the Ashes), it would be awesome for the series. He’s an entertainer,” Paine said.
The captain is also currently sidelined by injury as he recovers from neck surgery.
“I’m back in training this week, doing a bit of pilates, jogging and swimming,” said Paine. “It was good to have bat back in hand. I’m moving pretty normally.”