By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Jan. 5 (Reuters) – Australia coach Justin Langer has all but confirmed David Warner will return for the third test against India and has said uncapped opener Will Pucovski is available for selection after eliminating protocols of concussion.
Regular opener Warner ran for test fit at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) from Thursday after missing the first two matches in Adelaide and Melbourne with a groin strain.
Warner admitted last week that he was unlikely to be fully in good shape, but Langer told reporters on Tuesday the southpaw was “very, very, very likely” to play at SCG where Tim Paine’s Australia hopes to take a 2-1 lead in the four. match series.
Warner is set to replace Joe Burns, but selectors will have to decide whether Pucovski should put Warner on top of the order or keep Matthew Wade as the makeshift opener.
Experts have expressed concern about the risks of choosing Pucovski, 22, who was unavailable for initial tests after suffering a concussion when he was hit in the helmet by a short ball during a football match. tour.
Pucovski has a history of concussion issues and India’s rhythm attack, led by the dreaded Jasprit Bumrah, bombarded the Australians with bouncers in Melbourne, hitting specialist batsmen Marnus Labuschagne and Wade on the helmet.
Still, Langer said there was “no reason” Pucovski couldn’t be selected.
“All the concussion protocols … have been adopted,” he said.
“It’s just about finding the balance of our team, where we are in the series … we are evaluating if this test match is correct or if the next test match is correct.
The inclusion of Pucovski would likely mean that Wade would return to his usual place in the middle order and that batsman Travis Head would be dropped after scores of 38 and 17 in the loss to Melbourne.
Langer said Head was a “good player” but declined to support his inclusion for Sydney.
“He’s one of the guys currently in the squad. If that changes for this game, I can’t tell you. We have some decisions to make … probably after (practice) this post -midday.”