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Pucovski could be Test team rock

Rising star Will Pucovski could be the batting order rock the Australian Test team needs according to new Victorian coach Chris Rogers. Pucovski, 22, has twice been on the verge of elevation to the Test team and would have worn a baggy green last summer before he stood down from cricket to address his ongoing…

Rising star Will Pucovski could be the batting order rock the Australian Test team needs according to new Victorian coach Chris Rogers.

Pucovski, 22, has twice been on the verge of elevation to the Test team and would have worn a baggy green last summer before he stood down from cricket to address his ongoing mental wellbeing issues.

He didn’t return to the Victorian team after a pre-Christmas break and then suffered an eighth concussion when batting for a Cricket Australia XI on the Gold Coast in February.

Playing as captain in his return match, Pucovski hit his head on the ground after dashing for a quick single, and hasn’t batted in a first class match since.

Former Test opener Rogers was appointed as Victorian coach last month.

He believes Pucovski is so well advanced in understanding his batting that with a consistent run of playing he could prove to be the “safe” batsman the Australian Test middle-order needs.

“He seems to be in a pretty good space with his batting in particular. It’s easy to forget how much you have to learn at that age,” Rogers said ahead of the Sheffield Shield season starting in Adelaide next month.

“But with Will it’s quite incredible how advanced he is with his understanding of his game and his tempo and those kind of things. You get really excited but understand also he’s a young guy forging his own way.

“If he gets a bit of a roll on, the way he plays, and the way he grinds away, I think he could do some pretty amazing things and be one of those consistent players.

“That’s the thing in particular I think the Australian side would love to have, a guy who just in the middle is a safe player, who gets it done more often than not. He could be one of those players.”

Pucovski has only played 20 first-class matches but has made 1225 runs at 42.24 with a best of 243 against Western Australia at the start of the 2018-19 season which followed a 188-run knock late in the previous summer against Queensland.

He travelled to England with the Australia A squad ahead of the Ashes last year and made a one-day hundred during that tour.

Rogers also said fringe Test players Marcus Harris and Peter Handscomb, who both lost their Cricket Australia contracts earlier this year, were trialling new things to push their case for a return to the Australian team.

“I think it’s been pretty tough hits at times with how they’ve gone. They haven’t had the success they want, they have been dropped and copped a lot of criticism along the way,” Rogers said.

“Both of them seem to me to have made conscious decisions to go down a slightly different path to advance their game. There might be some time to get used to that.

“I see two guys who are very hungry, working hard at their game and very skilful as well. It’s up to them. They are going to get plenty of opportunities, it’s up to them what they do with them.”

An extended Victorian squad will travel to Adelaide on October 5, serve 14 days of quarantine in the Adelaide Oval hotel, before moving to Glenelg to play the opening four rounds of the Shield season in South Australia.

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