Gavaskar warns concussion-victim Pucovski of bouncer barrage

By: AFP
Published: 12:11 PM, 11 Dec, 2020
Gavaskar warns concussion-victim Pucovski of bouncer barrage
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Indian great Sunil Gavaskar Friday warned Will Pucovski will face a short ball barrage if picked for the first Test in Adelaide, despite the Australian rookie recovering from concussion.

With David Warner out of the next week's clash with an adductor muscle injury, Pucovski, 22, was widely tipped to replace him and open with Joe Burns.

But that is up in the air after he was felled by a delivery from Kartik Tyagi in a warm-up match this week, suffering "mild concussion symptoms".

He remained in Sydney to recover while the rest of the squad travelled to Adelaide ahead of the first of four Tests starting on December 17.

If Pucovski takes the field, Gavaskar said he would be fair game for short-pitched deliveries, despite having a history of concussions.

"Definitely. I think you would expect that to happen," Gavaskar, who is in Australia as commentator, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph Friday.

"Once you enter the ground whether it's playing for your country, or even playing for your state or club, you're going to cop it."

"If the word is that you're not really comfortable against a particular delivery, you're going to get a lot of it," he added. "I don't see India easing up because he's had a history of concussion."

He said Australia would do the same if an Indian player had a similar weakness, and pointed to Mohammed Shami as India's best short-ball proponent.

"He's got as good a bouncer as any I've seen," said Gavaskar.

Despite what could be a fiery reception, Australian pace spearhead Pat Cummins insisted Pucovski could take whatever was thrown at him.

"For someone like Will, he has been hearing that for a couple of years and scoring two double centuries, back-to-back (in the Sheffield Shield) he can handle that pretty well," he said from Adelaide.

"Of course (short bowling) is a weapon we like to use, here in Australia there are slightly bouncier wickets and we try to push the batter back.

"But I can't see it being too much of a headline-grabber this summer."

Langer reveals health scare

Australian cricket coach Justin Langer has revealed a health scare last year left him feeling "seasick and drunk" and almost forced him to quit.

The 50-year-old, who is preparing for a four-Test series against India starting in Adelaide next week, said tinnitus, vertigo and vestibular migraines struck out of the blue during the World Cup in England.

He initially thought it was a tumour in his ear, like his father developed 25 years earlier, but brain scans in England and later back home ruled that out.

"I developed tinnitus and that is just a constant now. I also kept getting vertigo, which is just horrible," he told the West Australian newspaper late Thursday.

"For about 10 months, it literally felt like I was seasick and drunk the whole time.

"In my job, I've got to put the mask on all the time obviously but it takes its toll."

Perth-born Langer, who has been Australian coach since 2018 when Darren Lehmann stepped down in the wake of a ball-tampering scandal, said it got so bad he considered his future in the game.

"I got to a point where I was feeling so unwell and not having the answers, I wasn't sure that I would keep going in my job because it was just so stressful," he said. 

Physiotherapy has helped the 105-Test veteran deal with vertigo and he has also been having treatment for the migraines, which leave him dizzy, but the tinnitus has not abated.

"It was really weird. It literally just came on," he said, 

"We're in England for the World Cup and one day I wake up and I describe as like in Star Wars, the light sabres when they start hitting each other."

Langer said is not sure why the symptoms developed, but said he "got hit a lot" during his career as an opening batsman.

His problems led to him become the Perth-based Ear Science Institute's new ambassador next year.

Cummins hoping to break mould as bowling Test captain

Pat Cummins Friday said he saw no reason why a bowler could not captain the Australian Test side after former skipper Michael Clarke backed him as Tim Paine's successor.

Wicketkeeper Paine has been widely praised since taking over when Steve Smith was slapped with a ball-tampering ban in 2018, but he is 36 and there has been occasional criticism of his form.

Leadership speculation reared its head again this week when limited-overs captain Aaron Finch missed the second Twenty20 against India and Matthew Wade, rather than Smith, was tapped to become captain.

Cummins, who was rested for that game, has been appointed the sole vice-captain for Australia's four-Test series against India starting next week and Clarke is a big fan of the world's number one bowler.

"Patty's ready for it," Clarke told reporters Friday, when asked who he favoured to eventually take over from Paine. "I love that they've given him the full-time vice-captaincy."

Handing the captain's armband to a pace spearhead would be unusual, with Australia usually going for batsmen given a bowler's extra workload in the field. 

The last fast bowler to captain Australia's Test team was Ray Lindwall for one game in 1956.

But Cummins said: "I have been speaking to a few people and they think out of all formats potentially Tests are easiest for a bowler to captain. 

"Obviously you're busy, you're going to be out there putting a lot of effort into bowling, but there's a bit more time afforded to you, the game moves at a slightly softer pace," he told reporters on a Zoom call.

"I know there haven't been too many bowling captains, but I don't understand why it has to be a batter."

He said being backed by Clarke was "great to hear", but added: "Of course it means absolutely nothing because we have got some great captains at the moment."

Smith and Travis Head are also expected to be in the frame once Paine departs. 

Cummins will line-up in Adelaide next week for the opening Test having not played red-ball cricket for 11 months -- his longest gap since his Test debut in 2011.

But he has no concerns about making the switch from the limited-overs format.

"I don't see too much of a problem," he said. 

"I've been playing quite a bit, high intensity. I've played 20 games or so in the last couple of months so I feel like I'm used to playing and it's just that slight tweak as we move into longer form cricket."

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.