County news

Cowan poised for Ashes prep with Notts

George Dobell

December 11, 2012

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Ed Cowan scored a half-century before falling prey to the pull shot, Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth, 4th day, December 3, 2012
Ed Cowan is likely to open the batting for Australia in next year's Ashes © Getty Images

Nottinghamshire are currently in talks to sign Australia batsman Ed Cowan as their overseas player for the start of the 2013 county season.

Cowan, Australia's Test opener, could be available for Notts' first seven Championship games, between tours to India and the start of the Ashes.

The signing might be viewed as a controversial one. Cowan, 30, is expected to be part of Australia's Ashes squad and will have the time to familiarise himself with English conditions ahead of the series. The first Test of the series is played at Nottinghamshire's home ground, Trent Bridge.

Cowan is no stranger to conditions in the UK. He has also had spells with Gloucestershire, scoring a century on first-class debut for them against Essex last season, Scotland (2008) and Oxford MCCU (2003), for whom he made his first-class debut. Gloucestershire were also keen for Cowan to return and are believed to have wanted him to captain the side.

Nottinghamshire struggled to find a reliable opening partnership in 2012, when they ended up finishing fifth despite setting the early pace in challenging eventual champions, Warwickshire. Their average first-wicket stand was just over 35 and Neil Edwards was released at the end of the season, after being replaced by Riki Wessels as Alex Hales' opening partner.

In the final Championship match of the season, England U-19 Sam Kelsall opened alongside Edwards, with Wessels batting at No. 3, as England call-ups and injuries stretched Notts' squad.

David Hussey, another Australia international, remains the likely candidate as Nottinghamshire's overseas player for the second half of next season, while former England bowler Ajmal Shahzad has already joined from Yorkshire.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 12, 2012, 21:55 GMT)

@jmcilhinney, oops there you go flattening randy with the facts again. Those averages make for some funny reading. The sign says 'Do Not Feed' :)

Posted by philter73 on (December 12, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Hashim Amla played for Notts the other year and did really well. It tends to swing at Trent Bridge and so will it will probably be a really useful experience for him too.

Posted by Meety on (December 12, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

@ jmcilhinney on (December 12 2012, 04:20 AM GMT) - just bear in mind that the Worcs team average (not inc Hughes) was 18 in the games Hughes played, & the opposition was 35. Delving further into Hughes's County season, he mainly batted in the 1st innings of the match, the opposition was often batting on the comparatively easier 4th innings.

Posted by bouncedout on (December 12, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

Don't worry about poor old RandyOz, he hasn't got a clue. He won't be around for a while due to Aus getting a beating by SA recently

All joking asiide though and as an England supporter I am really worried about Hughes and Cowan potentially opening the batting for Australia.......

As for the 'weak' county system in England, it continues to produce world class youngsters. You only have to look at the 'big bash' to see how seriously Aus are taking their cricket these days. Bring on the Ashes, can't wait.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 12, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

I suppose the aussies will need all the help they can get considering they havent won a series in England for over a decade.

Posted by Meety on (December 12, 2012, 8:36 GMT)

@ maximum6 on (December 11 2012, 22:14 PM GMT) "...There is no Shane Warne or Glenn Mcgrath or even Brett Lee..." - thanks for clearing that up! Have you been a coma for 5 years? == == == So many comments, with nothing intelligent to say!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 12, 2012, 4:20 GMT)

@RandyOZ on (December 11 2012, 13:16 PM GMT), oh absolutely, just like Worcs were top of the table last year thanks to Phil Hughes averaging a world-beating 35. At least Khawaja managed to average 44, but that was in division 2. You do realise that Jonny Bairstow, whom you've assured us is not Test material, averaged 53 in that same division 2 competition, right? These are the players who are going to win Australia the next Ashes? I'll just start quaking now, shall I?

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (December 12, 2012, 3:38 GMT)

Good move Cowan. It's great to see that he is serious about putting in the hard yards required to reclaimi the trophy that is rightfully ours. Bring on the Poms!

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 12, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

@Front_foot_lunge, I actually said the same of Starc being employed by Yorks last year..It could be a two edged sword in that it would give the 'bowlers' union chance to work home over a little and locate any weakness, or it could give him the confidence and familiarisation with the conditions. I wonder how many shield sides would offer one of englands test players a 7 game contract ahead of an Ashes campaign in Aus, at best they might pick up a grade cricket contract, if they were lucky.

Posted by Meety on (December 12, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

@WilliamFranklin on (December 11 2012, 13:57 PM GMT) - sorry dude -it's the Currie Cup "...brings through players that destroy Australia..." for England!!!

Posted by kaidranzer on (December 12, 2012, 0:53 GMT)

How much do these players get paid per match in the English county?

Posted by   on (December 12, 2012, 0:45 GMT)

We never hear about how much these guys get offered to play county cricket. Although I am a greater fan of the longer formats, one thing I like about the IPL is that there is more disclosure about how much players get paid!

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (December 11, 2012, 22:56 GMT)

It doesn't matter what he does for Notts. It's all about facing up to England's bowlers on the first day of the first test and making sure Australia are off to a positive start. I don't think people on both sides of the fence should chew on more than they can swallow.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 11, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

@RandyOz, Wlecome back, we missed you for the last few weeks and thousand Ashes. How do you explain this apparent 'weak county system' producing cricketers that give Australia innings defeat after innings defeat? Have a go.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (December 11, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

At the moment England are getting it together in India so they could extend this into the summer beyond NZ. Australia seem to have injury prone bowlers or total journeymen.A combination of both attacks used v SA is hardly going to make anyone have nightmares. More likely they are licking their lips. There is no Shane Warne or Glenn Mcgrath or even Brett Lee. I bet even the average supporter is crumbier than before. When Hughes played for Middx it seemed to help us more than them. And Hughes is coming back. Cowan looks reasonably organised but not that imposing. Maybe the effect of playing for Notts may be of more use to us than them.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 11, 2012, 20:49 GMT)

This is a positive step, not only for Cowan but for any cricketer who needs to refine their technique for test cricket. I still maintain a stint in country cricket rounds out the learning process to complete your skills in readiness for test cricket, not a couple of games either but a much longer stint. I think Notts County will get good value from a player who is not only a solid team man, but prides himself in delivering for his team. Good luck to both Cowan & Notts.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 11, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

if the Australians had been playing in india they would not have let him into the to him playing before the ashes he will need all the practice he can. randy which country are you in at the moment. you back in oz ?. if still in the uk the cricket season has ended they are playing with a bigger ball now and its not red.

Posted by dfljbfjbdjbll on (December 11, 2012, 20:47 GMT)

@RandyOZ i guess we shall see which system is weak by the end of 2013 but i've got a feeling it won't be the county one. I see nothing to fear from Aus home or away

Posted by CricketCoachDB on (December 11, 2012, 20:06 GMT)

@RandyOZ, Cowan averaged 29.4 for Gloucs in 5 Championship innings, 37 in his two T20 appearances and scored 29 in his only CB40 game last season. Not exactly "carving it up"!

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 11, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

Front Foot- You are joking with Hughes piling on anything. that mans off stump will be rolling across first class grounds as usual. I mean he scores runs in Aus first class cricket which is at least two grades below County Cricket

Posted by FieryFerg on (December 11, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

I see our Aussie friends have finally resurfaced after their beating by the Saffers. They should also check the reality. Ed Cowan averaged 29 in the second division of the championship last season with Gloucestershire, so don't bet on him running riot at Trent Bridge. He also didn't do much for Scotland as the overseas man - nice guy but certainly not a prime signing.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (December 11, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

Thing is...would he get in the Notts side? Cowan is at best a county standard player. I think he'd get into Div 2 side but not a Div 1 side. He only averages 34! Average at best...even Ian Chappell doesn't rate him.

Posted by RedRoseMan on (December 11, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

I remember exactly the same being said before the last Ashes series when Phil Hughes played for Middlesex. As I recall he scored a stack of runs for Middlesex in Div 2 of the County Championship but a fat lot of good that did him when it came to the Tests - wasn't he dropped after a couple of matches?!

Unbelievably he is still supposedly in contention for a Test recall!!!

Posted by sephotrig on (December 11, 2012, 18:52 GMT)

@Front-Foot_lunge please stop pretending to be English its obvious to anyone your clearly an Australian. Remember in 2009 when Hughes came over and scored runs for Middlesex, after 3 tests he was on the scrap heap. To me this gives the England camp an excellent closehand look at one of what could be termed as the weakest top 4 in international cricket.

Posted by Delta11 on (December 11, 2012, 18:41 GMT)

Aussie players given a chance to find form before the Ashes? Good! I want to play the fittest and most in form possibly Aussie team in that series. Then there are no excuses, it'll simply come down to who outplays who over five matches. Don't want another touring team coming over here undercooked and end up on their 8th choice seam attack (see India 2011 for details).

Posted by somerfjord on (December 11, 2012, 18:18 GMT)

You can look at it two ways. It gives England seven game to find out Cowan's weaknesses. He's susceptible to falling over when the ball is full and getting out lbw & bowled. If he goes a few times like that then he could carry that over into Ashes. Or he could plunder a heap of runs and the Aussies win the Ashes. Here's dreaming.

Posted by 200ondebut on (December 11, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

Same happened with Hughes last time - hardly a problem was it, and lets face it Australia are a poor side that would struggle to beat a full strength Notts team. I'd prefer we didn't take the one eyed approach that other countries have. It will make retaining the ashes again far more satisfying.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (December 11, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

Let him play for whoever he wants, his record minus the 100 he got against SAF in Brisbane recently is poor. He will not be a key player for Aus in the ashes. If he doesen't make some serious runs against SRL & Ind he may be surplus to requirements by next July!

Posted by wibblewibble on (December 11, 2012, 17:42 GMT)

I'm all for it - get as many Aussie batsmen to come over as we can, we get a good look at how to get em out in UK conditions.

If you STFW, you'll find a similar fuss made when Phil Hughes signed for Kent (I think) before 2009 ashes, scored a number of centuries for them - and promptly got demolished in the tests.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 11, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

You could offer contracts to all the Aussie XI but it wont make any difference come the first ashes test when they get sent packing AGAIN. Last season Hughes and Khawaja played championship cricket and neither averaged over 40. Average players. I'm surprised Notts want such a player to open the innings. Trent Bridge is a tough place to make runs as an opener.

Posted by Selassie-I on (December 11, 2012, 16:22 GMT)

@ Front-foot_lunge/wolf in sheep's clothing - you are actually right here, i'm all up for this; hopefully giving your guys (we all know your an Aussie) enough of a helping hand to have a competetive series. I mean it does get a bit boring for us to watch Cookie bat for days and days ending career after career of your bowlers.

@ RandyOz - Yeah, i bet he'll tear up the english county seamers like Hughes did last year, what did he average? 35? I guess that's good for an Aussie these days now, it certainly seems to nail you the No.3 spot in the test team.

In seriousness though, I do think this is the right way to go and improve the quality of test cricket, if you look back 20 years, people would travel all round in their off seasons and home advantage wasn't as big, now the top players get a huge wedge from the IPL, they don't seem to think they need to.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (December 11, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

Imagine if Notts were in India! Think how hospitable the BCCI would be to this signing of Ed Cowans! Fortunately, we don't all live under that repressive, paranoid regime - and we are the better for it! Good luck to you, Ed. And keep up the writing, please.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 11, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Jimmy and co are itching to bowl at Cowan, Australia famously bare cupboard continues to cause them embarrassment. @Front-Foot_lunge & @RandyOZ, Welcome back, we missed you for the last few weeks and last thousand Ashes. You should note that Australia's long lack of a test spinner is in even more stark contrast given that the two best spinners in the world are currently carving up the so-called 'home tigers' India. What's your response to that? Much be a tricky one to type...I forget to mention England also have the world's best test opener & best seam attack. Remember Anderson? The tormentor? The bringer of so much heartache to Aussies in their own back yard as they suffered innings after innings defeat? Well they'll all be back to haunt you next year. :)

Posted by jpeacock158 on (December 11, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

RandyOZ "Comparatively weak county system"? Is this the same system that all the Aussie commentators were in envy of after Australia lost the Ashes down under? I seem to remember Slater, Chappell, Healy etc constantly banging on how they wished the Shield standard was as high as our county one and there are better teams in Div 1 than Notts now anyway

Posted by blink182alex on (December 11, 2012, 14:50 GMT)

@RandyOZ, yeah just like last season where Cowan averaged 29 for Gloucestershire in Div 2 in the best batting conditions for the season. He won't find things easy in Div1 in April - May. We saw in 2009 where Hughes scored loads for Mdlsx and then lasted 2 tests before being dropped, that county games before the tests doesn't mean a big deal. At least he'll spend some time facting Swann and Broad in the nets.

Posted by mackem1 on (December 11, 2012, 14:20 GMT)

Don't forget that having an Aussie, and possible member of the test side, playing in the county championship works both ways. Remember Hughes filling his boots in the competition before the tests - and then looked what happened. Cowan will be watched.

Posted by   on (December 11, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

Why do countes love to aid the Aussies when they are on the ASHES tour? The last thing I want is to see the Ashesgo back to Aussies. That is a big NO-NO in my cricketing eyes. IF this happens, I will blame the counites sp Nottswho have allowed any Aussies to play in our condiitons before the Ashes begin. Notts - you are a FOOL!!

Posted by WilliamFranklin on (December 11, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

@randyoz yeah just like Khawaja did? amazing how the 'weak county system' brings through players that destroy Australia.

Don't see any problem with him going to notts - He's just not that good. Remember hughes going to Middle and then getting sod all runs in the Ashes. anyone wanna take Mitchell Johnson?! :)

Posted by Damo_s on (December 11, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

England Counties helping to serve the Aussies with experience of our conditions before they come over. Didnt this happen with a few of the Aussie players last time? What wonderful respect and loyalty they are showing to the England team!

Posted by Front-Foot_lunge on (December 11, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

Only ill-informed English 'fans' (and there are plenty of them!)will see this as a traitorous move from Notts to help an Australian player familiarise himself with English conditions. He's already familiarised himself last year, with Gloucestershire, and the same 'fans' didn't complain then. When Starc rips through us, will these same 'fans' complain to Yorks? When Khawaja scores a tonne, will they complain to Derbyshire? Or when Hughes piles on the runs, will they also complains to Worcs?

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 11, 2012, 13:22 GMT)

I would love that - the key to success is the amount of effort we put towards achieving it - the more we travel in that direction, the more it comes closer - so good on you Eddy !! Go ahead !! Good luck !

Posted by RandyOZ on (December 11, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

Expect Notts to be top of the table them. Cowan, although not that good, would carve up the comparatively weak county system

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