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Will Pucovski ruled out of Sheffield Shield clash with another delayed concussion

Will Pucovski has been ruled out of Victoria’s Sheffield Shield clash with South Australia after experiencing delayed concussion symptoms after a blow to the head in a 2nd XI game last week.
Pucovski, 25, was struck on the head attempting a pull shot off South Australia quick David Grant in a match at Karen Rolton Oval in Adelaide and was forced to retire hurt. However, he passed his initial concussion tests and was cleared to resume batting. He went on to make 89 from 146 balls to help set up a Victoria win but he was subbed out of the match after the first innings as a precaution ahead of the Shield season recommencing this week.
However, Victoria did not name Pucovski in their 13-man squad to face South Australia at the Junction Oval starting on Saturday with Cricket Victoria’s head of male cricket David Hussey revealing that he had suffered delayed concussion symptoms.

“Will passed the relevant tests following the knock in Adelaide last week but has subsequently experienced symptoms over the following days,” Hussey said. “We’ve spoken to our medical staff and the advice is clear that he won’t be able to play this match. While he’s in otherwise good spirits, it’s important that Will focuses on recovering with the support of our broader team.”

It is estimated that Pucovski has had up to a dozen concussions in his career dating back to playing multiple sports as a junior. It was hoped he would have an uninterrupted run this summer for Victoria having spent the winter playing club cricket in England. He played five of the first six Shield games before the BBL break but did miss one against Queensland as part of his ongoing management.

Since making his debut for Victoria in February 2017, Pucovski has not managed to play a full domestic season. The closest he has come was the 2019-20 season where he played the first half of the summer for Victoria, four List A and six Shield matches, before taking an indefinite break in December of that summer and not returning until the 2020-21 season.

Pucovski has signed a short-term deal to play for Leicestershire in the first five games of the County Championship season starting in April.
In better news for Victoria, wicketkeeper Sam Harper has been cleared to play after suffering a horrific head injury at Melbourne Stars training in the later stages of the BBL. Harper ramped a ball into his throat while batting in the nets and was sent to hospital. He missed the last three games of the BBL with a severe concussion but has been cleared to play against South Australia.

“Sam has completed all stages of the medical return to play,” Hussey said. “He has no ongoing symptoms and feels confident ahead of Saturday’s game.”

Victoria’s Shield captain Will Sutherland and allrounder Matt Short are unavailable after being included in Australia’s ODI squad for the three-match series against West Indies. Victoria’s 50-over captain Peter Handscomb will lead the side in Sutherland’s absence.

Nic Maddinson has been named to play his first Shield game of the season after missing the early part of the summer due to a knee injury. Scott Boland also returns after being carefully managed before the BBL due to his inclusion in the Test squad but he did not play any of Australia’s five home Tests across the summer.

Victoria Sheffield Shield squad vs South Australia: Peter Handscomb (capt), Scott Boland, Xavier Crone, Sam Elliott, Marcus Harris, Sam Harper, Campbell Kellaway, Nic Maddinson, Jon Merlo, Todd Murphy, Fergus O’Neill, Mitch Perry, Tom Rogers

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