Victorian batter Will Pucovski will be back in cricket action this weekend, making his long awaited return at grade level following a year out of the game with concussion and shoulder troubles.
Having received his 10th concussion of his career in October of last year in a training session, Pucovski says he’s been enjoying being back in training the past month, though admits he’s been a little rusty in the nets.
“I passed all my concussion tests around mid-December and was able to get back into a bit of fitness where I’ve been able to build that up and have a fair bit of hits which has been real fun,” he told media on Friday.
“I’ve was hitting them better on the artificial wickets than I’ve been hitting them on the turf this week, so it’s a bit of a reality check.”
Reflecting back on his time out of the game, Pucovski says the initial weeks of his recovery were hard but says he’s enjoyed the last month in preparing for his return.
“It was probably hard at the start when you sort of feel like you’re missing out on a lot of stuff,” he said.
“Especially with a head injury, the first initial couple of weeks can be quiet hard because you’ve got a concussion and things can be quite difficult, but I’ve actually loved the last month when I’ve been feeling back to 100 per cent and able just do my own thing and get back there in my own time.
“I kind of enjoy it when you’re in that run [and] you’ve sort of got a bit of plan of when to return and ticking off certain things, because you have the excitement like you’re improving all the time and ticking things off a bit more.”
In addition to concussion concerns, Pucovski was also set back with a shoulder injury, having gotten shoulder surgery last year. With this shoulder still not at 100 per cent, the 23-year-old said it was a major reason as to why he hasn’t been in BBL action this season.
“I didn’t really consider it [Playing BBL] because I hadn’t played for a year and [because of] my shoulder, I haven’t quite worked out how I’m going to field with that yet,” he said.
“I want to do a couple of club games to work that out, because I still can’t really flow properly yet, it was going to be a tough one going straight out to a BBL game and [it’s] probably a bit easier to not dive in a club game [with] 50 overs and a bit less excitement.
“With 15,000 people in a ground and fireworks and everything you might get a bit carried away, [so] probably just getting used to my shoulder again has been main reason I’ve sort of not considered it.”
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Ahead of his return on Saturday, Pucovski has knocked back notions he’s worried about receiving another concussion saying he’s prepared for the inevitability he will be hit.
“It’s one of those things where you evolve and different things work at different times, and I feel I’ve got a strong routine and strong motive about how I want to go about it and try repeat it as often as I can and as much as I can, and develop different techniques to get into that place where you’re sort of just watching the ball and reacting,” he said.
“I’ve done a lot work in that space, and that’s sort of my main focus, [in cricket] you’re going to get hit, I’m going get hit again in my career, if you face balls and hopefully face a lot balls it’s just bound to happen.
“So it’s just something that I’ve got to deal with, but I’ve got people helping me out with my concussions and I feel pretty confident that regardless of what happens I’ll always be able to bounce back, it’s not really something that occupies my mind too much.”
Pucovski also noted on where he’ll sit in the batting order when he eventually returns to Shield cricket for Victoria.
Though having opened for Victoria in the past and opened against India in his debut last year, Pucovski says he’s not concerned whether returns to being the opener batter, feeling he can make an impact in any position.
“To be honest I’m not really sure where I’m going to bat, I’ve never been too fussed where I bat, it’s probably a good thing I feel that I can bat in any position,” he said.
“I was never asked to open, I didn’t necessarily want to open, Buck [Victoria coach Chris Rogers] just came at me with the idea and I was more than happy to do it, and obviously ended up opening in the test I played last summer.
“it’s one of those things where I feel that I can bat anywhere, and regardless of where I bat, I’m not going to be too phased.”
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