Will Pucovski has failed to train during Australia’s main session before their Test series decider against India as Marcus Harris prepared in the Gabba nets for a potential call-up.
Pucovski suffered a partial shoulder dislocation while diving in the field at the SCG, where he impressed on Test debut while opening alongside David Warner.
Coach Justin Langer says Harris, who hasn’t played for Australia since the 2019 Ashes, would be an “obvious” inclusion if Pucovski is ruled out of the fourth Test that starts on Friday.
Langer remains hopeful Pucovski will be able to prove he is ready for the high-stakes match, which comes with the four-Test series locked at 1-1.
The early signs on Wednesday weren’t promising for the Victorian prodigy.
Pucovski was restricted to walking laps, alongside Australia’s fatigued frontline pacemen, as Harris went to work at training.
Langer watched Harris closely during the session, when he was tested out by reserve quicks Michael Neser and Sean Abbott, and had a long chat with the left-hander at one stage.
“We’ll probably know tonight I reckon, whether he (Pucovski) will be right to go,” Langer told reporters on Wednesday.
“It’ll either be a quick turnaround and he’s back up and into it, or it might be a few weeks.
“He’s a young guy, he has just played his first Test. So mentally he’s going to be exhausted anyway.
“We’ll keep an eye on how he pulls up today.”
Langer confirmed that Pucovski had a shoulder issue before the mishap on the final day of the third Test, which seemingly amplified the problem.
“He was going to have a scan after that day’s play anyway,” Langer said.
“With shoulders, as long as he can bat OK and catch – it’s not as big a deal in Test cricket … we’re really hopeful he will get up.
“If he doesn’t then the obvious thing is Marcus Harris would come in.”
David Warner, who was sent for follow-up scans after returning from his groin injury, had a brief hit on Wednesday.
“His tendon will be sore … he will be in pain,” Langer said.
“I’m 100 per cent confident he’s right to go for the Test.”
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc didn’t bowl on Wednesday, as expected given the three-day turnaround between Tests.
Langer predicted Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc should be right to back up in Brisbane.
“I expect they’ll all be ready to go for this Test match,” he said.
“We’ll see how they pull up.
“They’re brilliant athletes … if they’ve got any injuries then we might look at it.”
James Pattinson remains in Melbourne as he recovers from a rib injury, meaning Neser would likely make his debut if the hosts were forced to rejig their attack.