Sydney: Returning to Australia squad for the third time and finally getting to play after overcoming concussion-related issues, Australia’s debutant opener Will Pucovski says he was prepared for a barrage of short balls from the Indian bowlers.
Pucovski, who took the strike ahead of David Warner, was tested with a bouncer in the first over of the match bowled by Jasprit Bumrah but instead ducking under it, he took it on. Although he missed it, the intentions seemed clear.
Pucovski got his first boundary off a short ball too, a Siraj delivery taking the edge of his bat and going to boundary in the deep. He also ducked under some of them later.
“I have been bounced in all forms of cricket I have played with the history of concussions having been part of it. Knew India would come hard with it,” said Pucovski at the end of the day’s play.
The batsman added that he handled it well though at times the excitement got the better of him.
“I felt I handled it well at times but went out of the bubble at other times and a lot of times it gets down to the excitement of your first game… just making sure you get the first one out of the way and roll on,” he said.
India pace bowler Mohammed Siraj admitted that Pucovski was taking on the short ball and not leaving them despite having a history of concussions.
“We were trying to bowl short balls to him. Like in the warm-up, here also we targetted him with the short ball. But he was playing the short ball, not leaving,” said Siraj.
Pucovski’s latest of the nine hits on his head came during last month’s warm-up against India A in Sydney when a delivery from Kartik Tyagi forced him to retire. It ruled him out of the first two Tests at Adelaide and Melbourne even though he had initially been picked. Back in 2019 also, he was picked in the Australia Test squad to play Sri Lanka but had to leave the squad due to mental health issues.
“It has been quite surreal, getting hit on the head a month ago and then going to, it felt like, a millions of different doctors… managed to get through the protocols and managed to put myself to put up for selection and was lucky enough to get selected. It has been a bit of whirlwind. But it is awesome to be here,” said the opening batsman.
Pucovski, who got his baggy green from Australia assistant coach Andrew McDonald, also the coach at Victoria for which he plays, said that Warner had given him the choice of facing the first ball.
“Davey (David Warner) gave me the choice of facing the first ball or not. I might have thought about it 200 times but eventually I just took it and got the first one out of the way… In my head I had built up that I was obviously going to be ridiculously nervous. I wasn’t that bad. I was just excited about the opportunity I got, excited at receiving my baggy green. In that sense, it was quite calming.”