Ashes 2021-22: Tim Paine “devastated” to hear of Will Pucovski’s concussion before Ashes

Australian Test skipper Tim Paine on Friday (October 15) said he was “devastated” to hear that opener Will Pucovski suffered another concussion while training with Victoria on October 5. Paine has also nominated Marcus Harris to step in if Pucovski fails to get fit in time for the Ashes 2021-22.

Pucovski has been in contention to open with David Warner for Australia in the upcoming Ashes series this winter, but his tenth concussion puts his participation at risk and Paine admitted that it is a “big blow” to the hosts ahead of the much-awaited Test series in December-January.

The 23-year-old Pucovski was hit on his head while facing throwdowns during his stateside Victoria’s net session on October 5 and later shown the signs of concussion.

Paine said on radio station SEN Hobart: “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.”

He also insisted that there was no problem with Pucovski’s technique despite he has been suffering a number of blows to the head, leading him to miss a lot of cricket.

The wicketkeeper added, “He’s a good player of the short ball, you don’t average 54 or so in first-class cricket if you can’t play the short ball. I think he’s now more susceptible (to concussion) than other people. He doesn’t need to be hit as hard on his head.”

Paine also backed Harris as a likely replacement for Pucovski for the Ashes series against England, starting on December 8 in Brisbane.

He signed off by saying, “He’s just come back from a superb six months in England playing for Leicestershire in county cricket. And we know his first-class record for Victoria has been excellent for some time now, so he’s probably the frontrunner.”