Will Pucovski concussion concerns go beyond cricket, says Mark Taylor
Former Test skipper Mark Taylor says the concerns regarding Will Pucovski’s concussion issues go far beyond cricket.
“There’s a greater awareness, and quite rightly concern, about concussions,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports on Friday.
“Will and the medical staff involved are going to have to make an assessment on the impact this may have on him. That’s the concern – you worry about the long-term effects of these head knocks. To get 10 by the time you’re 23 is worrying.”
Pucovski’s latest setback came in the nets during training last week.
Current Test captain Tim Paine said he was “shattered” by the news.
Paine said there was “no doubt” Pucovski would have opened the batting in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, on the back of sparkling form in first-class cricket over the past year, including back-to-back double centuries.
But is there some sort of issue with the way Pucovski is approaching that game that’s leading to head knocks?
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“It’s interesting, you ask if there’s a technical issue and your gut feeling says there must be, but you look at his first-class record and it’s very good,” Taylor said.
“He’s been able to pile on plenty of runs, big scores, but there’s got to be something going on there, that he gets hit more than most. Being a top-order player and averaging 53, he can obviously play short bowling, but he seems to be getting hit too much for anyone’s liking, especially himself.
“Then there’s the short-term concerns. How is he going to go this year? It’s still a couple of months until the first Test but the worry is: what can he do towards stemming the number of head blows?”
Fellow ex-Test captain Michael Clarke agreed, saying on Big Sports Breakfast that Pucovski’s concussion issues were scary.
“He was just having throwdowns in the net. So let’s say that’s coming down at 120km/h; it’s not 145km/h,” Clarke said.
“I don’t know enough about his situation but the fact it’s his 10th, and he’s having those effects days after, I think this is really touchy to be honest. There’s a number of doubts and, again, I look from afar and I’m nervous.”
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Taylor said Marcus Harris was probably the next man up, but that the door was open for someone outside of NSW and Victoria to sneak in.
“He’s been making some runs in the county season in England, so he’s in some sort of form. But the way the season is panning out, NSW and Victoria players aren’t going to get a lot of chances to show what sort of form they’re in.
“It might be a top-order player from South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania or Queensland. They’ll have a greater opportunity to make big runs in the games they’ll be able to play, and put their name up in lights.”
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