The Investec Ashes 2013

Cowan resolves to fight for spot

Daniel Brettig in Worcester

July 2, 2013

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Ed Cowan and David Warner walk back for lunch, India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 2nd day, March 15, 2013
Neither Ed Cowan nor David Warner will be opening for the first Ashes Test © BCCI
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Life is suddenly a whole lot less certain for Ed Cowan. For the past 18 months he has answered to the title of Test opening batsman, but Chris Rogers' promotion to join Shane Watson atop the order against England means Cowan must now scrap for another commission.

While he met the news with good grace, Cowan has responded by vowing to fight for a place elsewhere in the order, citing obstinate efforts in India as proof he will be capable of tackling more varied challenges. Day one of the tour match against Worcestershire will be the first day of the rest of his life.

At New Road Cowan is set to bat at No. 3, after Watson and Rogers walk out to face the new ball as the coach Darren Lehmann's favoured opening combination. But Cowan said he was now very much in the contest for other batting positions, saying he had received "good communication" about where Lehmann and the captain Michael Clarke saw him fitting in.

"If you've got Clarke in there somewhere, there's three other spots I need to be fighting it out for," Cowan said. "I've always said if you can open the batting you can bat anywhere. And particularly now having been through four Tests in India, if I was to come in in the middle order against spin then I feel really comfortable doing that. I don't know if I could have said that having not been through that.

"So if you can open the batting against the new ball, you can certainly come in against the older ball. It's hard to go the other way. I started my career at six for New South Wales, I obviously bat at No.3 in one day cricket for Tasmania and five if Ricky, last season, was playing. So I've had some experience, if selected and I'm not opening the batting, then that will be the biggest challenge.

"Finding a way to distract yourself until it's time to bat because one thing about opening the batting is you start preparing when they're eight or nine down, you've got 10 minutes to put your pads on and out you go. If it's in the middle order, do you relax, do you stay up? All those little things and that will be a challenge but it's something I'm just going to have to deal with."

If Cowan's determination to succeed in India could not be questioned, given that he faced 706 balls across the series to be second only to the aggregate-topper M Vijay, a lack of centuries since the first match of the home summer against South Africa in Brisbane did not help his cause.

At Taunton Cowan was unfortunate in the first innings, given out caught behind though the ball appeared to brush clothing rather than bat, but in the second wasted a fluent start with an edged cut shot. Other such lapses against Sri Lanka at home prevented Cowan from establishing the sort of record that would have made him harder to dispense with.

"I think if you break it down I'm only really interested in being judged on what I do in Test cricket," Cowan said. "So you can look at all the first-class games, but for me, what happens in Test cricket, I think that was a really positive series for me.

"A few things happened in the Sri Lankan series I wasn't happy with and India was hard work but I felt I had my head above water by then in that series. This is a huge series, I feel playing against good fast bowling, when the ball swings is right up my alley I guess in terms of my strengths and I know if I get in this series I'll be making it count."

Knowledge gleaned from starting this northern summer with Nottinghamshire might count in Cowan's favour as a middle-order option, given that the first Test will be played at Trent Bridge. He is also aware of the quirky rhythms of an English day's cricket, as demonstrated on day one against Somerset when a batsmen's day was turned on its head by the second new ball.

"I think aggressive in England doesn't necessarily mean playing big shots," he said. "It means showing intent and looking to score but understanding if conditions dictate the other way you can still be full of intent but not necessarily rocking along on the scoreboard.

"At Trent Bridge there is quite a bit of swing, there is a little bit of natural variation in the wicket, a few little quirks like little sight screens at the members end and the members sit in front. Those little things I now know of and have dealt with, so I can just feel at home and go for my life I guess."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

It seems to me that Khwaja is a better all-round batsman than Cowan; the verdict insofar as Hughes is concerned is mixed - he is more than a bit suspect against top-notch pace and spin, both of which England have in their armory. During this tour, and also on the prior tour to India, Steven Smith has shown himself to be a more than capable batsman who can take the attack to the other side, while Warner has the potential to be a dynamic lower order batsman.

Insofar as bowling is concerned, Australia needs to back their strengths - I don't see a point in filling up a spot with Agar or Lyon, when all they are going to do is play a back-stop role. Maybe Australia should consider going with 4 pacers including 2 work horses like Siddle and Faulkner.

Taking the above considerations into account, my Australian XI would be:

Watson, Rogers, Khwaja, Clarke, Smith, Warner, Haddin, Faulkner, Siddle, Starc, Pattinson

Watson, Smith, and Warner can take up part-time bowling duties.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 3, 2013, 11:03 GMT)

@Shaggy076 it's an impression I get, but obviously I don't know the man personally so I'm speculating. Not sure I agree that it would make him "not cut out to play Test cricket", though.

Ian Bell always struck me as being a bit like that, until maybe five years ago (that 199 against South Africa). Before then he'd scored 7 hundreds in 70 innings, one of which was against Bangladesh at home. Since then he's scored 10 in 80 innings, including a 199 and 140 against South Africa, a 159, 235 and 116* against India, two centuries against Sri Lanka and his first Ashes century.

I think this idea that "no one deserves a run of 10 games" is a hangover from when Australia had stacks of quality players to choose from and that dog-eat-dog thing helped make you into a side that not only had heaps of talent but a ton of grit and almost unbeatable at times. But that's not the case right now. When that changes, sure, but right now you've got to give players who show signs of talent a proper go.

Posted by bobagorof on (July 3, 2013, 1:36 GMT)

xylo: Agreed. When Warner is in form he can be devastating, but recently the Australian side has shown a lack of application and that's something Cowan cannot be accused of. Warner's recent results and lack of form on tour also suggests that if he's selected it will be on the basis of something other than performance.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (July 2, 2013, 23:24 GMT)

H_Z_O ; If your description of Khawaja is accurate then surely he is not cut out to play test cricket. No one deserves a run of 10 games you get a chance and you have to take it. I'm not sure your description is accurate and sure that he has a chance of playing the first test but this time he has got to be ready to take it. My preferred team is Watson, Rogers, Cowan/Khawaja (interchangeable not much difference), Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Siddle, Harris, Lyon. However I see them going with Starc over Harris.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

Ed's sure got his work cut out for him. He really, really needs a big hundred next innings to have a shot at playing. These middling scores, while consistent, are nowhere near matchwinners.

Posted by xylo on (July 2, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

If Warner finds a place in the test XI and Cowan does not, it would be very clear where Australia's problems lie.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 17:41 GMT)

It can be hard when you have half a dozen opening batsmen to fill in the middle order. We can also blame Watson a bit as he has failed to score in the middle order. Reminds me of the days when the Indian test team used to have multitude of make shift openers like Laxman, Mongia, SS Das, Badani, Bangar etc. In case of australia it's just the opposite now. Apart from Clarke there is no specialist middle order batsman of class and experience. Technically it should be easy for an opener to be shifted to middle order than vice versa. Have to wait and see. This series may covert some openers to middle order batsmen forever.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 2, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

@Anirudh Krishnan but Haddin's a better keeper than Wade. Why would you take the gloves off him? Either Wade plays as a specialist batsman (doubtful) or cover for Haddin in the event of an injury. In England, the ball occasionally has a nasty habit of hooping away from the keeper after it leaves the bat, so an injury might happen (hope not, though). Easier for your backup to stick with the squad, ready for action if he's needed.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (July 2, 2013, 17:06 GMT)

As proved again today Cowan does not convert starts. Only 3 50s in 10 FC games this season. Not good enough. He is all talk. An average of less than 40 at 30 years of age. So we know he wont get any better. I would pick and stick with Usman who has much more potential and deserves at least as good a run as Ed has had(17 tests). Plus he is 5 years younger. UTK top scored in a run chase against South Africa, then was dropped, run out by Ponting when in the 40s another time. His weaknesses and problems have been publicly talked about by Uncle Arthur and others when more major discipline problems and failures by others get swept under the carpet. Another commenter mentioned Faulkner. He should only be picked as one of four bowlers, as his batting is not up to test number 7 standards. He is a 8 at best. Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Pattinson, Siddle/Harris, Lyon, Bird

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

with ponting and hussey no longer playing for the aussies the batting line up looks certainly deprived on the experience front... that said, haddin would certainly be playing in the eleven as a specialist batsman with wade taking the gloves... with the info that chris would be opening with watson, the playing eleven should look like this... 1.watson 3. huges 4.clarke 5.haddin 6.warner 7.wade 8. starc 9.harris 10.siddle 11.lyon/pattinson... this could be the line up provided they have faith on wade as a keeper batsman.. if wade should fail to find a spot, haddin could drop to no 6 with warner moving up one spot, and the no 7. could be a toss up between the spinning allrounder steve smith or the pace bowling allrounder faulkner...

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 2, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

@Tafara Jakopo totally agree about Usman. He's got a very sound temperament and more than enough talent to go with it. I get the impression he's a bit insecure, though, and needs the Coach to put an arm around his shoulder and support him. I think Lehmann's appointment might be the best thing that's ever happened to him. If he's given a run of 10 games I think he'll be a very solid performer, albeit maybe not a match-winner (Hughes and Warner look more capable of that). He's a grafter, though, and every team needs one. Mark Waugh was arguably more gifted than his brother, but which of them has 10,900 runs at 51?

Posted by HansonKoch on (July 2, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

Sure, Cowan is a fighter. But fighting your way to a piddling 35, when the opposition is breezing centuries is painful to watch.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 13:31 GMT)

This bloke is a fighter, Aussies need him. He acknowledges that he hasn't quite converted his starts, but I do feel he has all the basic ingredients to succeed in England. He should be picked over Phil Hughes any given day.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

Cowan is a decent player who pushes above his weight. He is a fighter no doubt but a lot of the games he has played he has very little impact in the game , building partnerships or releasing some pressure. No he just comes hangs about for 20 overs and gets out. I think Boof might go with Hughes even though we all know that about a 100 ways to get him out. He is so technically flawed but when he is can be an impact player unlike Cowan who is always a side show.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (July 2, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

I don't think it's fair to lash out at anyone who questions or doubts Watson. Granted, the guy's done well against in England in England as an opener, so it make sense to have confidence that he has the capacity to excel once more. However, overall Watson has been an average player, and will end his career as such.

I consider it easier to bat lower down the order than it is to open. Logically then, his stats should have vastly improved the more he played in the middle order - like most good, let alone great, players who made a "forced" switch. Watto's an enigma in that regard. In fact far from being an enigma, it's testament to his inferior batting abilities in comparison, and even further proof that that you can never rely on him when it counts. Apart from his obvious and much talked about lack of tons, it's no wonder he averages over 40 only in drawn matches.

He's going ok in the warm ups, which is great. Flattering to deceive? Nope. I genuinely think he'll have a fruitful Ashes!

Posted by Dashgar on (July 2, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

Cowan is a fighter. I'll take him at 3 ahead of any of the other contenders.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 2, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

Cowan may have faced a lot of balls in India but so what? Facing balls doesn't win tests, making runs does. And in 17 tests he has only made any impact in 1 of them. Boof wants players who are capable of winning tests and who can argue with that logic?

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 2, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

It's a shame Khawaja and Smith aren't both playing so they can fight it out for vacant middle order spots. Those two and Warner should be fighting for 5-6 spots (Hughes 3, Clarke 4, Haddin 7). Playing Hughes in the middle order for warm-ups may not be bad, he's only ever opened so getting used to batting in different conditions can only benefit his game. Cowan however, is never going to win a test match. Cowan has only made any impact in one test he's played, the century against SA. 45 is a good score for him and Boof won't put up with that.

Posted by Amith_S on (July 2, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

@Popcorn good suggestion for the team but i think it will work more along the lines of Watson, Rogers, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Warner, Haddin. Fantastic to see Watson get a 100 before lunch, boof is bringing the best out of him, Khawaja and Hughes. @ZFC_Outkast i suggest you take a look at Khawaja's innings against South Africa when we chased a record 300 on their turf or his 100 against Tasmania in shield when he outscored Tasmania on a pitch resembling a tennis court, the kid can bat and with Arthur gone he might get half the chances afforded to Cowan. @Mike i know what Warner did was not a good look but you can't deny the kid is a match winner, and i want him back in sooner rather then later.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (July 2, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

@mitty2, would you please get off Watsons back? Over and over again with the same boring comments. The fact is Watson can be a game changer and has more talent in his pinky finger than Cowan, who is just an honest average cricketer that happened to have one good Sheild season at the perfect time. Watson was ostracised by Clarke and Arthur and now under Lehmann we hope for Australia's sake, we can see his talent produce the results he is capable of. I think people forget that he was our best player two years in a row before the Arthur-Clarke partnership took hold.

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 2, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

The problem is Ed, that you can't open. More hyperbole and even less performance from the journeyman.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

Cowan is Australia's Compton.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 2, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

Alright so here it is. Ed Cowan faced the 2nd most amount of bowls in the entire Indian series and yet only averaged 33 - there's his problem - but those stats are somewhat misleading. On three umpiring decisions, I, like any other person who watched those decisions (including Indians) will tell you that they were erroneous decisions with little ambiguity about how wrong they were. Two of them - from memory - were when he was set and had passed 50 (I stand corrected, but I definitely remember one on 80). Shane Watson, on the other hand, was purely terrible and there wasn't a single positive. He faced less bowls than NATHON LYON and got out three times to ugly cross batted hoiks (it still makes me cringe) because he can't read a length to save himself.

Cowan is in more than reasonable form and would add much needed stability; Watson's only form is against the worst county attacks in div 1. One plays for the team; one doesn't. I know who I'd rather.

Regardless, Ed should bat at 3

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

@ZCF_Outkast, you're right in that there is little evidence that he will be dominant but i just want to see him given at least half the opportunity Cowan has at test level. I'm fine with him not playing for Australia ONLY if he has been given a fair go.

Posted by jonesy2 on (July 2, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

I think he will be doing battle with usman for the number 3 spot. got a feeling he might miss out though.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (July 2, 2013, 11:20 GMT)

@Tafara, I've watched pretty much every single one of his international innings so far, and I was not impressed. In all of them he simply has shown anything close to a lot of the fringe Aussie batsmen who've achieved more from less chances. No wonder he still largely fails in tour matches, and there's little evidence that he will ever be dominant for Aus. Maybe MUCH later, but certainly not now. To think at some point they wanted to drop Punter for this guy! I'd rather go for the much discriminated Cosgrove instead.

@Eckhart, no that will not be the lineup for the 1st test. Patto is not a god. Siddle's been rubbish with the ball, Faulkner is not a frontline bowler, Starc will get wickets but fetch in the process. The selectors would be mad to select both Warner&Cowan in the same lineup. Can't believe you left out both Ryno&Bird - IN ENGLAND!!!!!

Posted by siddhartha87 on (July 2, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

Not surprising. He looked mediocre throughout his career.While Hughes is more talented than Cowan ,Cowan is more determined.I guess he would bat at no 3 or 6. No 6 is a real possibility as he is good against spin.

Posted by Batmanian on (July 2, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

@Chris_Howard, with Watto, we'll take even a false sense of security. He's a gun, who sometimes falls to pieces. He can destroy any attack if his confidence is right. And a healthy enough opening stand with Rogers is also a plus (although there is a slightly nauseating feeling that Rogers's fine form will run out when he needs it most).

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 10:58 GMT)

@ZCF_Outkast Those who have seen him at his best know what it's about. The best you can see right now is his innings against South Africa where he top scored (65 i think) coming in at 3 after Watson fell first ball and Australia won that test. He is not the type of batsman to score a big 100 when given opportunities few and far between, If he lives up to his potential I see him being an Ian Bell type player, though he has flaws - looks very good but then gets out, but still good. Definintely good enough to be in this Australian side.

Posted by popcorn on (July 2, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

Ed Cowan should bat at Number 4.Usman Khawaja at 3.Clarke at at 5. Haddin at 6.Steve S, ith at 7.

Posted by cloudmess on (July 2, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

Ed Cowan is Australia's Nick Compton, and right now looks in real danger of being sidelined in the longer term. A new coach is not going to be good news for everyone.

Posted by 158notout on (July 2, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

feel quite sorry for Cowan. He has been solid as an opener and as a mature player brings an influence to the team that players like Watson and warner simply cannot bring. I don't know why everyone always wants Watson to open, OK his stats might be better there but he is the least natural opener amongst the half a dozen that Australia have picked. Problem is Rogers and Cowan are a bit similar.

However i think I would go with something like: Rogers, Cowan, Hughes, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, .....

The one I would not be happy with is Hughes.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 2, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

I think it's amusing how neither of the counties Australia are playing have fielded a bowler with any Test experience.

Trying to lull the Aussie bats into a false sense of security, maybe? Certainly doing them no favours.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

Cowan and Steve Smith must play - Cowan because he actually has a decent technique suited to the swinging ball and Smith because he is probably going to be our next Captain.

If we don't give Smith a run like Michael Clarke got, then how is he going to develop? Also adds some variety to the bowling attack.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (July 2, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

I simply do not understand why people continue to talk up Usman Khawaja! This boy has been downright pathetic each time he's been given a chance to play for Australia be it in Tests, Tour FC matches and even ODIs, mostly against poor to average attacks. I rate Smith, Warner&Cowan ahead of him any day. I would be very surprised if he plays any of the Tests ahead of those three.

Australia should have simply overlooked him initially, spared him the trouble, and recommended him to go and help the ailing Pakistani batting! Ferguson/SMarsh should be there instead.

As things stand I would go for an under-prepared Warner at 5, and Smith at six with Hughes and Clarke at 3 and 4 respectively. I can't see see Australia winning much if Clarke performs his heroics from 5.

I like Siddle, but Pattinson, Starc & Harris alongside Lyon should start. They should have kept Sayers ahead of Bird&Siddle as first reserve seamer.

Recalling Haddin was ingenious. Wade&Paine are proof Aus lack in that area.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

Could THIS be the starting 12 for the first Ashes Test? Watson Rogers Hughes Clarke Warner Cowan Haddin Faulkner Pattinson Siddle Starc Lyon

Posted by Dangertroy on (July 2, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

I feel for Ed Cowan, he has been under pressure for his entire test career. He has never made the consistent runs to cement the spot, but I think he is extremely unlucky to be deposed. I understand choosing Rogers to open, although I think he would succeed at 3. As a couple of people mentioned, his grafting style of gameplay is suited to taking the shine of the ball. Its a shame he has rarely cashed in once the ball softens. I think he is suited to opening, although maybe with a bit less pressure down the order he can make some big runs.

Even if he missed out, then he should just relax, he can take Watson's spot after the first test. Watson has been given everything he wants, so if he doesn't succeed in the first few tests, then he must be dropped. Either that or he will make a solid 90 and then get injured patting himself on the back.

Posted by Batmanian on (July 2, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

There is no sign of a proper first drop in this lot. Warner, Hughes and even Khawaja might be capable of it, but Cowan not so much. It is the place for an anchor, not a dead weight. Watson, Rogers, Warner, Hughes, Clarke, Haddin, Faulkner is the scariest top seven I can think of, but I suspect Warner will be played lower (swapping Warner and Hughes is another option). Clarke at five and Watson opening are two things not to mess with.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (July 2, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

17 matches averaging in the 30s is not good enough given the opposition he has faced. Hughes in is the same boat. Problem is we have no serious competition for these guys. So we have to shuffle around these guys hoping they will get better and improve the 1st class scene batters. Looks like a few years yet before we resume our rightful place at the top of the test tree.

Posted by BenGundry on (July 2, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

So we have 6 players fighting for three spots; Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Khawaja, Smith, Wade. Cowan is the oldest by over 4 years and his 1st-class stats are the worst. What he does have is test experience. Wade not playing either warm-up is probably out. Khawaja isn't playing the 2nd game, so he's either definitely in or definitely out - I guess he's out, simply not enough test experience.

Based on team selection and messages coming out, Cowan has his destiny in his own hands. If he performs well in the next game he will play. A couple of low scores and his spot will be taken.

The likely top six: Watson, Rogers, Clarke, Hughes, (2 of) Cowan/Warner/Hughes, Smith.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

Australia is making a big mistake. Cowan has to open. Watson opening after one good innings isn't a good idea. People forget that before playing in India, Watson had a comeback hundred against WI in ODI, and I think a fifty as well. Also if he is not bowling he is not playing.

Posted by sharidas on (July 2, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Very good work by Lehmann. He is making all players hungry for a place in the team. Certainly a good way to get commitment. All the best to you Aussies. Fight it out with England !

Posted by PFEL on (July 2, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

I'm afraid he's got no chance of being selected for the first test. And highly unlikely to get a game in the future. You can't really say he was hard done by either, He was given a huge run and scored very averagely. 1 hundred in 18 months, averaging in the 30s. He should consider himself incredibly lucky to have played tests at all as there are much, much better players that never got a chance during the 90s-2000s.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (July 2, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter - For now Warner needs to bat down the order at a 5 or 6 until he learns the game. I think he is a potential future #3 batsman, with natural aggression and skill however he just dosent have the temperament to be there at the moment. Cowan is a good option cause at least he thinks and is prepared to play the long game.

Posted by kdevil3 on (July 2, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

I feel rain will wash away the ashes ...series will be a draw

Posted by Mary_786 on (July 2, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

@Australia is spot on, boof is creating a culture where sub standard performances won't be allowed and this kick for Cowan will be good as it will push him to convert his starts. @Jimbond you should take a closer look at Khawaja when he gets his chance in this series, very elegant batsman who can be a future number 3 for us and has age on his side too at 26. Like you i am waiting for the ashes to begin and am flying out later in the month to watch a few of the games with my husband, can't wait.

Posted by PrasPunter on (July 2, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Ed deserves a place after his big efforts in india - but where exactly would he fit in is not certain. Not beyond No 3 , in my opinion.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (July 2, 2013, 8:22 GMT)

I am quite shocked at the lack of Faulkner talk. Faulkner is in amazing form and should be a near certainty to make the test team, probably batting at 7 with Haddin at 6. There are thus only 5 batting options going. The 2 openers have already been named, while Clarke is obviously going to bat at 4. That leaves just 2 spots up for grabs - numbers 3 and 5. I think it is out of Cowan vs Warner for number 3 and Hughes vs Smith for number 5, with Warner and Smith currently favourites. I can't see Khawaja being anywhere near a test berth at the moment.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (July 2, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

@Ozcricketwriter not sure if you read boof's comments but he is considering Warner for the 6 spot which he will be best at and judging from Cowan's comments he knows the middle order is where he will most likely fit in. Khawaja is firming up to be our number 3 and about time given he has been on the sidelines for the last 4 months waiting on Uncle Arthur to let him play. I think Warner can be a test batsman if his head is right ( mission imposible maybe ), but if you freshen him with a new faith and a position a way from the limelight like 5/6 I think he can be a success. For his best in his career as shown in that Hobart epic is high class. You cannot discount that he still possesses that potential and needs to be persisted with. I would go with Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Warner/Cowan for the first test and this warm up game will determine those last few positions.

Posted by jimbond on (July 2, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

Havent seen Khwaja from close, but I wonder why most people take him as a certainty. I would have thought that both Cowan and Warner have a chance in the Aussie middle order- given the current vacuum created by exits of Ponting and Hussey. Three uncertain guys- Cowan, Warner and Hughes around Clarke may not be such a bad thing. Cowan makes the bowlers fight for his wicket, and Warner and Hughes thrive on confidence- if they do well, they can demoralise the opposing side. Suddenly there is a challenge in the offing. I am eagerly waiting for the ashes to begin.

Posted by _Australian_ on (July 2, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

Boof is already managing to get players more hungry just by making the slightest of tweaks and comments. This is the exact kick Cowan needs which could improve him unmeasurably. Under Arthur he would still be plodding along and making sure he did his homework.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

This guy talks too much, just score runs or get out.

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

A FC average of 35, 3 centuries in 65 FC innings....the selection of Cowan in the 1st place was an indication of the severe crisis that the current team is facing in finding out new another age players like Phil Jacques, Di Venuto were not able to get the slot...the decision to drop Simon Katich despite a good season is still haunting Australia

Posted by disco_bob on (July 2, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

I'm amazed that people still talk with such blithe 'certainty' about playing a week out from a game as it people don't get fingers broken in net practice or tread on cricket balls during the warm up, or get an unlucky bail in the eye... It is a certainty that there's no certainties in Test cricket (except for that one obviously)

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (July 2, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

I think it will be one of Cowan or Warner in the number 3 spot. For me Warner is currently the favourite but if Cowan can perform well in this warm up match he is in with a shot.

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (July 2, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

Best position if he does well in this game is 6 for him, i would have Khawaja at 3 as he is the best 3 at present and Watson and Rogers opening. Clarke at 4 looks good. If Smith outscores Cowan then he gets the 6 spot, essentially we would have Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, Hughes, Cowan/Smith.

Posted by Cameronburt96 on (July 2, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Cowan batting the way he has done is pointless unless he opens. Whilst his style can take the shine of the new ball, he doesn't have the all round game of someone like ponting or sangakkara to bat at 3, his record is not as good as warner, who's style is also more suited to a middle order role, for me Cowan should not play if he won't open.

My team: Watson, rogers, khawaja, hughes (those two are interchangeable), Clarke, warner, haddin, starc, pattinson, siddle/Harris (depending on Worcestershire warm up game and bowling of Harris) and lyon

Posted by   on (July 2, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

Ed, just cash in on your starts mate, that is all people are asking of you, turn the odd 35 into 135. Keep that intensity switched on throughout the day, concentrate on your running between the wickets and cut out the brain fades! You have the game for it, no-one questions that, just find that extra bit of mongrel to bat the whole day.

Posted by HansonKoch on (July 2, 2013, 7:15 GMT)

After 17 tests I think we all know that Ed is good for 35.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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