Cricket: Vics ‘hopeful’ Will Pucovski can start Sheffield Shield season

A frustrating injury while wicketkeeping at the end of a UK club stint is threatening to delay Will Pucovski’s return to the Sheffield Shield, but Victoria remains “hopeful” he can play the opening game.

The prodigious batting talent has not played a first-class match since October last year but is in the frame to return against Western Australia on October 4 after a break from the game for personal reasons.

Pucovski suffered a broken thumb towards the end of his season with Surrey League club Weybridge when he attempted to take a sharply rising ball behind the stumps, according to a match report on the league website.

The Sheffield Shield opener at the WACA had been slated as his return date for a lengthy period after he played in the state second XI competition in March and returned to Melbourne CC in time to win the Victorian Premier Cricket flag.

A Cricket Victoria spokesman said Pucovski was “tracking well” ahead of a potential return next week but added he might be held back until the second round clash with Queensland in Mackay from October 14 to 17.

The right-hander scored an impressive 62 on his Test debut against India in January 2021 but now sits down the pecking order for openers behind Matt Renshaw, Cameron Bancroft and Victorian teammate Marcus Harris.

If he returns to the top of the order with Harris, a strong first half of the season could put him in the frame to replace retiring opener David Warner, who says he will call it quits after the New Year’s Test at the SCG.

Will Sutherland will captain Victoria in the Sheffield Shield this season after he led a stunning revival of the young side’s previous campaign to march into a final against WA.

Peter Handscomb, who Sutherland filled in for while Handscomb toured India with the Test side, will continue to lead Victoria in one-dayers.

Handscomb steered the Vics through a difficult run chase against Tasmania to secure a three-wicket win in their opening Marsh Cup game at the Junction Oval, scoring 51 off 42 balls as they chased down 224.

Read related topics:Melbourne

Leave a Comment