Pucovski’s concussion has left Australia’s Paine ‘devastated’ ahead of the Ashes.
The news that batting prodigy Will Pucovski had suffered another concussion was “shattering” for Australia Test captain Tim Paine on Friday, with Marcus Harris now the favorite to begin with David Warner in the first Ashes Test.
The 23-year-old, who is considered one of Australia’s brightest talents, was hit in the head in the nets this week, his 10th concussion in a career marred by injuries and mental health difficulties.
Paine, who hit 62 on his Test debut against India in January, told SEN sports radio that finding out was “shattering.”
“I’ve talked to him a little over the last several days, and he’s slowly better. I don’t think it’s as awful as some of the other illnesses he’s had.
“However, given his background, we must use extreme caution with anything involving the brain,” he stressed. “I was heartbroken when I learned what had happened to him.” Late Thursday, Cricket Victoria issued a brief statement saying that their medical staff was working with Pucovski and that “he looks forward to returning to training as soon as he is able to do so,” but it was unclear when that would be.
On December 8, Paine indicated he would have started the innings against England in Brisbane.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he would’ve joined David Warner in that first Test match,” he remarked.
“Marcus Harris, on the other hand, is most likely the man waiting for his chance. He’s just returned from a fantastic six months playing for Leicestershire in England… and we know his first-class record for Victoria has been exceptional for a long time.
“He’s certainly the frontrunner for that part right now.”
Paine also mentioned veteran Usman Khawaja as a possible option, as well as rookie Bryce Street, who just made an amazing century for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield.
Following invasive surgery last month to treat pain in his neck and left arm caused by a bulging disc, Paine is racing against the clock.
“I’m doing some pilates, jogging, and swimming to stay in shape. It was great to have the bat back in my hands. I’m moving about rather normally “After returning to mild training this week, he stated.
“I hit around 20 balls underarm yesterday (Thursday). At this point, the only issue I’m having is with my left arm’s strength.” England, headed by Joe Root, will arrive in Australia next month for a five-Test tour that will take them to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth after Brisbane.