Australia news June 23, 2012

Contract snub is 'great incentive' - Cowan


Plenty of people were surprised not to see Ed Cowan's name on the list of Cricket Australia's contracted players for 2012-13, released on Friday. Cowan was not one of them. Ever the realist, he knew that he remained in the selectors' immediate plans for the Test side, but that they wanted more than the solid starts he has provided during his first seven matches in the baggy green. He wanted more too.

Since he was called up for the Boxing Day Test, Cowan has played a full series against India and all three matches on a tour of the West Indies, and has shown that he is not out of his depth at Test level. But nor has he made himself indispensable. Test scores of 68, 8, 16, 74, 30, 10, 14, 34, 28, 20, 1 and 55 highlight Cowan's potential, and he said he was not surprised that more would be expected of him to earn a central contract, especially with contract numbers slashed from 25 to 17.

"I wasn't shocked," Cowan told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday. "I was naturally disappointed, but at the same time I think it's great for Australian cricket that it is going to be so competitive for contracts moving forward. We've seen in the past with too many contracts, guys earning contracts and then not playing through an entire year. With the opportunity to play and earn an upgrade it leaves Australian cricket in a really good and competitive place.

"I've had a great opportunity to cement that spot at the top of the order and I probably haven't scored the runs that I probably should have scored. That conversation could have been ended pretty quickly with a couple of Test hundreds in the last seven Tests. I'm looking forward to hopefully opening the batting for Australia come the Gabba in November, putting some runs on the board and earning my way back on to the contract list. I think that's a really great incentive to keep the fire burning in the belly."

The selectors have told Cowan that he is firmly part of their blueprints for the Test side, although those plans are long-range at the moment, with no Tests on the agenda until South Africa visit in November. For now, Cowan is in Brisbane preparing for the Australia A tour of England in July and August, a trip on which he will be both captain and opening batsman.

The tour will provide Cowan with a valuable opportunity against high-quality opposition in English conditions ahead of next year's Ashes. His vice-captain is Peter Forrest, who is on the fringes of Australia's Test side, and other batsmen on the tour include George Bailey, Liam Davis, Joe Burns, Tom Cooper and Michael Klinger.

The selectors will be keeping a close eye on how the Australia A batsmen perform, especially given that only six specialist batsmen were handed Cricket Australia contracts for the coming year. The selectors might still be undecided on who from that next tier of batsmen can make the jump to international cricket, but Cowan believes there is more batting depth at state level than the contract numbers indicate.

"I think there's some really great batting talent coming through," he said. "There are some really strong young players, not only those guys on the A tour but guys who are pushing for selection on the A tour, guys like Bobby Quiney and Nic Maddinson, and even Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja, who aren't on that tour. There are a lot of batters around.

"The state of domestic wickets has been more conducive to fast bowling in recent seasons and it has made those big thousand-run seasons really hard to come by. At the same time, I think we'll see the benefits of that as well. Batters are having to tighten up their techniques and really respect the new ball and probably never feel as in as they could. But they'll reap the benefits as their game develops further down the line, to really appreciate when they do get on some good wickets and they'll cash in."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Christopher on June 26, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    @RandyOz..Forget personal attacks.If you wish to refute opinions,I suggest performing valuable research.Statistical data & factual information are the primary avenue by which hypothesis may be tested. I regularly & readily supply supporting data for my views to promote discourse.Most views I have formed have been vindicated by subsequent outcomes.Marsh failed exactly according to the methods & timelines I observed using his career record.Marsh made 1015 runs and 2x 100s in the same period that Rogers had 7779 runs and 27 centuries.Cummins was injured after 1 Test,exactly as I observed pre-selection.Khawaja continues to fall according to the failings I observed on his Test debut.Ferguson & Smith continue to fall based on my much earlier observations.Watson continues to lack batting endurance & has a S/R of 50 & ave of 37,based on my earlier observations.Warners Test ave has fallen to 42 from the 60s.Cowans ave 29.My batting line up.Rogers,Warner,Ponting,Clarke,D,Hussey,M.Hussey,Wade.

  • Randolph on June 25, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    @ hyclass - incorrect again! I never wanted Marsh in the team and in fact never agreed with his selection. Come back when you actually have some hard facts and a leg to stand on, rathert than dreaming up continual whismical facts. I bet you must have been devastated when Warner played that innings in NZ, because he isn't one of your favourites and you can't use it against him. I guess this is why you omit this innings every time you mention his name :)

  • Christopher on June 24, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    @RandyOz...I opposed & you advocated Marshes selection.You were mistaken & this continuing bitter tirade is unworthy.In advance of him being chosen,I described what would take place if he were selected with a high degree of accuracy.I based all of my information on studying his long term record,the grounds & opponents he played.At no time did I consider it personal.Rather as an exposition of the failure of integrity of process diminishing standards, the subject of the Argus Review.This information included;His second Test scores to within 1 run.That he would be injured between 3 & 4 Tests.That he would follow with a run of low scores & finish with a sub-30 average.His current 1st class ave is 36,Test ave 27.@RauhlF...I see that you are a Khawaja fan. I'm surprised you are unaware of his 18x 20/20 matches-ave18-S/R105.Recent articles by others on Cricinfo have described him walking himself front on.These are observations I made months ago.His Test ave is 29 & 1st class 42 down from 53.

  • Randolph on June 24, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    @RauhlF - this is because hyclass is as bad as the old selectors - he plays favourites and omits the facts when it suits him. We are just all grateful he isn't a selector.

  • Allan on June 24, 2012, 3:01 GMT

    @srriaj317 i also believe Khawaja will come back strong this season, he is a good batsman who was unfairly dropped last year, but he needs to do what Katich did and score heavily in shield which i think he will. I also think Forrest is a player to watch as well.

  • Sriraj on June 23, 2012, 21:54 GMT

    Despite Khawaja's visibly classy style and better technique than Cowan, I have been left frustrated watching him over the last 18 months. The Big Bash stint might not have helped his following as well since it would disrupt any good cricketer's rhythm half-way in the season. To me, Khawaja seems to have lacked the mental application and strength needed for top-level cricket. I can only hope he comes back strong this season to prove a point. That said, I thought he looked good while opening in List A games towards the fag end of last season.

  • Mariam on June 23, 2012, 16:20 GMT

    @RahulF agree with your comments on Khawaja and Cowan, both are good batrsman and with good futures for Australia. Khawaja in particular is a great example for all sub continent youngsters trying to play for Australia

  • Rahul on June 23, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    @Hyclass its amazing that you pick on batting flaws for Marsh, Khawaja and Cowan but didn't mention the batsman with the biggest flaws in Phil Hughes. World class batsman such as Amla and Border described Khawaja's technique as one of the best among young batsman because he hasn't been tainted by 20 20. Shaun Marsh despite his mental weakness's also has a very good technique. The batsman you should be commenting about is Hughes but i am not sure if you are qualified to give commentary on batting techniques when you haven't achieved even half of what these guys have.

  • Christopher on June 23, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    The premise for national selection should always be performance over time.Selecting on brief runs of form is fraught and has resulted in a revolving door of players in recent years.I was opposed to a significant number of the selections,from Smith to Cowan,Marsh and Khawaja.The latters high point was a 1st class average of 53 that has since fallen to 42.Each of these players has demonstrated fundamental flaws in their game which will endure brief periods of excellence should conditions suit them, without long term success.Marsh has always lacked stamina and had a lot of his success v SthAust at Adelaide.His 11 year record is poor.Smiths game lacks discipline or the capacity to handle movement.Cowan has a very limited scoring range.Khawaja has several initial movements that remain inconsistent in their application.Sometimes he walks across to off stump and at others uses only his hands.He also regularly gets too front on.Other than Marsh,all of the other 3 have the capacity to improve.

  • kieran on June 23, 2012, 10:37 GMT

    Going by how the selectors act, I like that Cowan is being given more chances. Having said that, we all know the real Aus test team should read; Rogers, MHuss, Katich, Clarke, DHuss, Watson, Wade, Starc/Pattinson, Siddle, Hilf, Lyon. Old but good.

  • No featured comments at the moment.