Australia coach Justin Langer on Tuesday said David Warner was “very, very, very likely” to play the third Test against India, with Will Pucovski shaping as his opening partner after being given the all-clear from a concussion.
Warner missed the first two Tests with a groin injury, but looks almost certain to return for Thursday’s crucial clash in Sydney, with the four-Test series locked at 1-1.
“He looks like he’s moving pretty well. He’s very determined to play,” said Langer. “I’d say he’s looking very, very, very likely to play the Test match.”
But he added: “He’s going to be playing through pain though. It’s not so much in the muscle but in the tendon area.”
Joe Burns opened with Matthew Wade in the opening two Tests in Adelaide and Melbourne, but after a run of poor scores has been axed.
It opens the door for Pucovski to make his debut after Langer said an independent neurologist had cleared him of any lingering damage after the latest in a series of concussions.
“Will has still got a few boxes to tick today then we weigh up whether this Test match is right, or the next Test match is right. Time will tell,” said Langer.
Pucovski, 21, has a long history of being hit on the helmet, and has also dealt with mental health issues.
But Langer said his mind has been put at ease by the neurologists’ all-clear on Monday.
“The real heartening thing for him is that while he’s had a few concussions in the past ... it’s not necessarily going to have any long-term impact on him,” he said.
“And I think when you can put your mind at rest with that then that’s a real positive for him. He’s in a great frame of mind, he’s incredibly positive about playing cricket, he’s trained hard this week and, as he and I have discussed a number of times, the only way to get back on the horse is to get back on the horse,” he added.
If Pucovski plays, Wade will almost certainly drop back to his more accustomed number five position with allrounder Cameron Green retained at six.
That would likely see Travis Head dropped.
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