Australian news May 15, 2010

Cosgrove wants his bat to do the talking

Mark Cosgrove insists he is over the surprise and frustration at being sacked by South Australia and is ready for the next phase of his career in Tasmania. Cosgrove was shocked to be axed by the Redbacks after a season in which he was second only to Michael Klinger in their Sheffield Shield averages, with 511 runs at 42.58.

While he searched for a new state, he had a UK passport to fall back on if the need arose to switch allegiances. The lifeline from Tasmania came in the second round of state contract offers and Cosgrove said he was hoping to emulate his former South Australia team-mate Ryan Harris in lifting after changing states and going on to play for Australia.

"It was a surprise when I got told and it was frustrating to have to go through the process of finding a new home," Cosgrove told Cricinfo this week. "Now I'm pretty excited. It will be a really good move for me and my girlfriend. I look at someone like Ryan Harris, I played a lot of cricket with Ryan, and the change has done him good. I'm only 25, so I have time."

Cosgrove has already played for Australia - three one-day internationals in Bangladesh and Malaysia in 2006 - but has struggled over the years to keep his weight down. South Australia's officials often became frustrated with his fitness levels, and he was suspended at the start of 2005-06 for turning up unfit after a season in England and in February 2008 he was also dropped for being out of shape.

He said Jamie Cox, the SACA high performance manager, had not elaborated on the reasons for him losing his contract last month. However, Cosgrove has always been a believer that runs and wickets should speak for themselves, and provided he is able to play his part for the team his weigh should not be an issue.

"If you're doing your job properly then you shouldn't have any added pressure," Cosgrove said. "With the SACA I was under a lot of pressure all through my career at Adelaide Oval. As long as I'm making runs and being able to field and being able to bowl, I don't think there's a problem.

"It did sometimes become a distraction, Adelaide being a one-paper city and with people at the SACA saying stuff, it was hard at some stages. I think I did pretty well concentrating on my cricket and letting my bat do the talking."

Over the past five years, Cosgrove has been the leading Sheffield Shield run scorer at South Australia with 2593 at 42.50, and his figures are based more on consistency than any one stand-out summer. Cosgrove was speaking from the UK, where he had just made a first-class 85 for Glamorgan in the County Championship.

At Tasmania, he is likely to slot into the role vacated by the retired Daniel Marsh, another solid batsman who made the move from Adelaide. The Tigers have plenty of room for four-day improvement, having finished second-last in the Sheffield Shield last summer, but they are the reigning FR Cup holders and Cosgrove is especially keen to prove a point when they first take on the Redbacks.

"I haven't seen the fixtures of when we play them," he said, "but I'll be very determined to get some big runs."

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo