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Australia opener Pucovski 'unlikely' to play in Ashes opener

MELBOURNE : Australia opener Will Pucovski has been all but ruled out of the first Ashes test next month as he continues to battle concussion symptoms.

Pucovski, who has a history of concussion problems, was struck by a ball while training for Victoria nearly a month ago.

Victoria coach Chris Rogers ruled him out of this week's Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales and said he was a major doubt for the Ashes opener against England in Brisbane on Dec. 8 after not recovering as well as hoped.

"In discussions with the medical team and national selectors, it was felt that we'd give him a bit more time before he's selected to play for Australia," Rogers told reporters on Wednesday.

"No doubt it's a setback - I'd say now it's unlikely he'll play in the first test.

"If we do play a third Shield game in mid-November, and there might be a second XI game for Victoria as well, that might prepare him for one of the matches in the middle of the Ashes series.

"That's the best-case scenario at the moment."

The recent training blow was the 10th concussion of Pucovski's career.

The shaggy-haired 23-year-old made his long-awaited test debut against India in Sydney in January but suffered a shoulder injury in the match and was replaced by opener Marcus Harris for the fourth test in Brisbane.

Australia test captain Tim Paine has tipped Harris as the 'frontrunner' to partner long-time opener David Warner against England if Pucovski proves unfit, but Queensland captain Usman Khawaja is also a chance after scoring two consecutive tons in the Shield last month.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: Reuters

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