West Indies v Australia, 3rd Test, Roseau, 3rd day April 25, 2012

Cowan urges critics to look beyond scoreboard

54

Ed Cowan has argued that critics of his and Ricky Ponting's contributions to Australia's Test series in the West Indies are not looking far enough beyond the skeletal facts of the scoreboard. All of Australia's top seven batsmen have fought battles within themselves to find effective ways of scoring runs in the Caribbean on a series of slow pitches often aiding spin, and Cowan argued that their collective efforts were worthy of more praise than derision.

On day three of the Dominica Test, Cowan and Ponting made 55 and 57 respectively, pushing the visitors lead to 310 with four second-innings wickets in hand on a surface offering generous turn and sharp bounce to West Indies' spin bowler Shane Shillingford. Their contributions meant that every member of the Australia Test team for the series had offered at least one performance of note, though there will be more than six months of speculation about the batting order between now and Australia's next Test, which is in Brisbane against South Africa.

"I try not to read too much of it [the criticism] but if you're in the Australian cricket team and you're not consistently getting big scores, of course you are going to be under pressure. You don't need to be a genius to work that out," Cowan said. "The only disappointing aspect is I think you guys here on the ground would appreciate how hard batting has been through the series but people [in Australia], because of the time zone, probably haven't watched a lot of cricket.

"They click on a link to see the score in the morning and they go '28, oh … Ponting 30, these guys are struggling'. Well, it's bloody hard work and you need to see the ball spitting and turning the way it is to appreciate that. And if you're just judging people's from by looking at the scorecard, then you're not doing the game full justice. I'm satisfied to overcome that hurdle of the mid-20s, a nothing score, to get a 50 on what is a challenging wicket.

"I was saying in the change-room when Ricky got his 50 that every one of the top seven has got a fifty on tour. It means we're contributing. As I just alluded to, 50 on a wicket like that can be as good as a hundred. Sure the runs don't show on the scorebook but over 300 to chase is a hell of a lot of runs. The contributions from the guys, they haven't been huge admittedly, which provides a little bit of ammunition if you're looking for it, but at the same time it has provided scores that are putting pressure on them [West Indies] to respond. As we've seen they're really heavily reliant on Shiv [Chanderpaul] to perform. He's probably due not to. We're confident we've got heaps of runs on the board already."

In less than a year, Cowan has gone from a state batsman who sees very little of Ponting outside of watching him bat on television to becoming a regular batting partner for the former Australia captain with both Tasmania and Australia. He said their relationship as batting partners had developed strongly in that time.

"I really love batting with Ricky. I feel, maybe because we are both playing for the same domestic team, there's the same kindred spirit there," Cowan said. "He's been a huge help to me, because I feel like the other guy really cares what I'm doing at my end and that's how really good partnerships and bonds and batting friendships can develop. That's developing, I probably need to stop trying to run him out occasionally, but so far, so good."

The spirit of kinship between all of Australia's players was enhanced before play by a brief Anzac Day ceremony in which Cowan spoke of the sacrifice made by the nation's soldiers in past wars, before the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade recited the Ode of Remembrance. Cowan said the address had tried to give the team some idea of how grateful they should be not to have to live with the painful uncertainty brought by times of war.

"It was an awesome honour to present an Anzac Day address to the Australian cricket team. That was a thrill in itself," he said. "What I did say was how important the day was for our generation, having not lived through a war and not been crippled by that fear of not knowing if your mates or your brother or your son's going to return, and how thankful we need to be for those who did live through that.

"Then I recounted a quick story of a guy called Stan Bisset, who was on the 1939 Wallabies [rugby] tour before he led a battalion up the Kokoda trail [in Papua New Guinea] three years later, and told a story of what I thought was extreme loyalty and mateship he showed to his men, and how grateful we should be that we aren't faced with the same choice of having to risk our own lives to save those of our mates."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • hyclass on April 29, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    A Test match lasts for a maximum of 5 days. It is only necessary that the best 11 men to win on that day take the field. The endless theorising over technique,carrying players,batting combinations & experience vs inexperience have proved pointless. Ultimately,the only measure of a player is his record over time. There hasnt been a need for the Test team to endure poor form. In the last 3 years,Rogers,David Hussey and Brad Hodge have watched their Tests aspirations expunged,despite peerless records. In their place has been a steady procession of mediocre players,such as Cowan,under-performing experienced players who then had no ready replacements if the afore-mentioned were ignored,public excuses and hyped media conferences of self promotion. Despite Argus,nothing of value has changed.The selections policies remain obstuse and mediocrity the dish de jour. Until there is a return to the time honoured selection practices,integrity of process and accountability,mediocrity will rule the day

  • BillyCC on April 28, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    @RightArmEverything, I agree, Hussey is not the long-term answer. I brought him up because it could disrupt the English attack for the Ashes. A Hussey-Warner short term opening partnership does have some appeal given the types of players that they are. Also agree with you that the top six each have their own problems. My ideal batting lineup in terms of style mirrors the great Australian side of the previous decade: 2 batsman with authority and power (Hayden, Gilchrist), 2 technically correct (Langer, Martyn), 2 dashers (Hussey, Clarke) and 1 who could perform all roles when required (Ponting). At various times during the decade, Katich, Lehmann, Symonds, Love subbed in as required. In this current batting lineup, the problem is that Ponting has lost his ability to cover all the roles, Watson has the ability to cover all roles but has too much responsibility and we are missing the technically correct batsman. Given my view of Cowan, he is the player who is not fulfilling his role.

  • RightArmEverything on April 27, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    @Meety, totally agree with you on Argus review re room for selectors intuition, my comment was because I think someone on here was using the review to argue that Cowan should not be in the team. Can't see Katich getting back in the side. Although he never deserved to be dropped, the ill feeling between him and Clarke would be bad for the team and I think that's overlooked when people ask for Katich's recall. Not sure Watson is the answer to No.3 yet either, although he passed 50 more times than anyone on this tour I think, but unlike the rest of the time was unable to convert to 100. Maybe Clarke at No.3, given his recent form before this tour? But then will Watson be better down the order? Don't want to push Ponting lower so Watson would have to bat at 5 or 6. In short, I think it will just take time for the them to work out the best batting combination and order, and for now I think the current lineup is worth persevering with.

  • RightArmEverything on April 27, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    @BillyCC, agree that Hussey could open and I think he was the obvious choice ahead of Watson all those years ago in England, as he had opened before. But Watson did a reasonable job and I agree with Meety that Hussey is not the longer term answer now. I think it's important to find two openers who can form a partnership over a number of years. Hussey may well stick around longer than people expect and I hope he does, but the fact is at his age if he loses form and is dropped he probably won't get back in. On Cowan not converting 50s to 100s and not turning over strike enough, I think he's being singled out for criticism when none of the top 6 were able to get a 100 on this tour and they all found it difficult to score at the rate they are used to. Interested in the other young guys you mentioned but haven't seen a lot of them. Chris Rogers did write a good article on here recently about flaws in batting technique and specifically mentioned Khawaja.

  • BillyCC on April 27, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    @Meety, yep forgot about Katich, but then again, I have the feeling he is in the "never to be selected again" basket. Otherwise, he shouldn't have been dropped in the first place. I feel that Hussey would be a young 38 and might still have something to offer in the top order, whereas you feel that guys like Ponting and Tendulkar are old 38s. The key is to get the dynamic right with Warner whom the selectors are banking on as one long-term solution and a potential captain. Cowan has not been the answer. Because of the player that he is, those starts that he has must be converted into hundreds; fifties are just not good enough.

  • D-Train on April 27, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    @LewisEdwards - Khawaja averaged 28.80 this season. How exactly does that make him the most solid batsman in Australia?

    Actually Cowan does have a lot om him. A proven fantastic domestic record within the last 12-18 months. Where as Khawaja has struggled in nearly every competition and every format he has played in since he made his debut for Australia. @Meety - Cooper has only played one or two Intercontinential Cup matches. His double century came in the Sheffield Shield.

  • Meety on April 27, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    @RightArmEverything - I'd be happy for the selectors to show a bit of faith with Cowan, as I think he has limited exposure around the cricketing world. I think there was a tour of Pakistan with & A side, & some minor counties in England. The problem for Cowan is, that there are no domineering batsmen in the top 3 atm. I think Warner will score runs soon, but Watto is just treading water. If old Punter had wound back the clock to about 2006 & was batting @ #3, I think there'd be no question to leave him (Cowan) in the side. As far as the Ashes are concerned, I think the home test series will make the waters a bit clearer. On the Argus report - it also allows for hunches/intuition. So I'm happy for them to back someone who may not standout on stats, just can't have a team full of them. @D-Train - just on "...if that's all he is offering.." - he has really developed well in the bat pad position, which is worth something. How much though i dunno!

  • Meety on April 27, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    @BillyCC - cool with the short/mid/long term strategies in theory, however, I really do think that Hussey is not an option as an opener unless an injury occured during a match. By the time the Ashes rolls around he'll be 38, whilst that may not be too old for a middle order batsmen, there are very few batsmen who have lasted that late as an opener. Sunny Gavaskar retired at about 37, & that was fairly old, I think Grenidge & Haynes were closer to 40 (I think), & their powers were diminished by then. If it is short term you want, it has to be Rogers or Katich, (IMO). I like Davis, but (atm) he is a one season wonder, if he backs up last summer next season - he would be straight into calculations. Maddinson has gone backwards, Burns I think is the real deal, (just needs a good start to the summer to confirm it), Khawaja needs to read S Waughs autobiography & I still have ? mark over Cooper as his stats are inflated from playing in the Intercontinental.

  • BillyCC on April 27, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @RightArmEverything, I have a long-term strategy and a short-term strategy. Neither would involve Cowan. The short-term strategy is to regain the Ashes, in which case, I would move Hussey (whom I prefer over Watson) to open alongside Warner. Warner is a matchwinner but he is inconsistent, in which case you need Hussey there to give him the strike if he's on fire, or Hussey to stay and convert starts into hundreds (why I prefer Hussey over Watson). Cowan does neither very well. There are other changes I would make to the batting lineup but you only asked about the openers. The long term strategy is to regain and stay at number one for a number of years but not necessarily regain the Ashes. In which case, you would choose someone young now (which Cowan is not) and establish themselves. Hughes had his chance but guys like Maddinson, Burns, Khawaja, Davis, and Cooper could well be given the nod in the coming year and they all have age on their side.

  • RightArmEverything on April 27, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    @BillyCC, who would be your choice to replace Cowan as opener? He was one of the most in-form openers at the time that he was selected. Selection based on form/merit was a key point of the Argus review, for those who continue to harp on about that. I think the selectors are doing a good job currently. So far Cowan has not performed much better or worse than others in the top 6. Each has got starts and each has one half century on this tour without capitalising. At the moment I'm not sure anyone else is going to do a better job as opener (that is nobody that is young enough to stick around for a few years, given the selectors' longer term view).

  • hyclass on April 29, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    A Test match lasts for a maximum of 5 days. It is only necessary that the best 11 men to win on that day take the field. The endless theorising over technique,carrying players,batting combinations & experience vs inexperience have proved pointless. Ultimately,the only measure of a player is his record over time. There hasnt been a need for the Test team to endure poor form. In the last 3 years,Rogers,David Hussey and Brad Hodge have watched their Tests aspirations expunged,despite peerless records. In their place has been a steady procession of mediocre players,such as Cowan,under-performing experienced players who then had no ready replacements if the afore-mentioned were ignored,public excuses and hyped media conferences of self promotion. Despite Argus,nothing of value has changed.The selections policies remain obstuse and mediocrity the dish de jour. Until there is a return to the time honoured selection practices,integrity of process and accountability,mediocrity will rule the day

  • BillyCC on April 28, 2012, 22:03 GMT

    @RightArmEverything, I agree, Hussey is not the long-term answer. I brought him up because it could disrupt the English attack for the Ashes. A Hussey-Warner short term opening partnership does have some appeal given the types of players that they are. Also agree with you that the top six each have their own problems. My ideal batting lineup in terms of style mirrors the great Australian side of the previous decade: 2 batsman with authority and power (Hayden, Gilchrist), 2 technically correct (Langer, Martyn), 2 dashers (Hussey, Clarke) and 1 who could perform all roles when required (Ponting). At various times during the decade, Katich, Lehmann, Symonds, Love subbed in as required. In this current batting lineup, the problem is that Ponting has lost his ability to cover all the roles, Watson has the ability to cover all roles but has too much responsibility and we are missing the technically correct batsman. Given my view of Cowan, he is the player who is not fulfilling his role.

  • RightArmEverything on April 27, 2012, 23:26 GMT

    @Meety, totally agree with you on Argus review re room for selectors intuition, my comment was because I think someone on here was using the review to argue that Cowan should not be in the team. Can't see Katich getting back in the side. Although he never deserved to be dropped, the ill feeling between him and Clarke would be bad for the team and I think that's overlooked when people ask for Katich's recall. Not sure Watson is the answer to No.3 yet either, although he passed 50 more times than anyone on this tour I think, but unlike the rest of the time was unable to convert to 100. Maybe Clarke at No.3, given his recent form before this tour? But then will Watson be better down the order? Don't want to push Ponting lower so Watson would have to bat at 5 or 6. In short, I think it will just take time for the them to work out the best batting combination and order, and for now I think the current lineup is worth persevering with.

  • RightArmEverything on April 27, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    @BillyCC, agree that Hussey could open and I think he was the obvious choice ahead of Watson all those years ago in England, as he had opened before. But Watson did a reasonable job and I agree with Meety that Hussey is not the longer term answer now. I think it's important to find two openers who can form a partnership over a number of years. Hussey may well stick around longer than people expect and I hope he does, but the fact is at his age if he loses form and is dropped he probably won't get back in. On Cowan not converting 50s to 100s and not turning over strike enough, I think he's being singled out for criticism when none of the top 6 were able to get a 100 on this tour and they all found it difficult to score at the rate they are used to. Interested in the other young guys you mentioned but haven't seen a lot of them. Chris Rogers did write a good article on here recently about flaws in batting technique and specifically mentioned Khawaja.

  • BillyCC on April 27, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    @Meety, yep forgot about Katich, but then again, I have the feeling he is in the "never to be selected again" basket. Otherwise, he shouldn't have been dropped in the first place. I feel that Hussey would be a young 38 and might still have something to offer in the top order, whereas you feel that guys like Ponting and Tendulkar are old 38s. The key is to get the dynamic right with Warner whom the selectors are banking on as one long-term solution and a potential captain. Cowan has not been the answer. Because of the player that he is, those starts that he has must be converted into hundreds; fifties are just not good enough.

  • D-Train on April 27, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    @LewisEdwards - Khawaja averaged 28.80 this season. How exactly does that make him the most solid batsman in Australia?

    Actually Cowan does have a lot om him. A proven fantastic domestic record within the last 12-18 months. Where as Khawaja has struggled in nearly every competition and every format he has played in since he made his debut for Australia. @Meety - Cooper has only played one or two Intercontinential Cup matches. His double century came in the Sheffield Shield.

  • Meety on April 27, 2012, 11:07 GMT

    @RightArmEverything - I'd be happy for the selectors to show a bit of faith with Cowan, as I think he has limited exposure around the cricketing world. I think there was a tour of Pakistan with & A side, & some minor counties in England. The problem for Cowan is, that there are no domineering batsmen in the top 3 atm. I think Warner will score runs soon, but Watto is just treading water. If old Punter had wound back the clock to about 2006 & was batting @ #3, I think there'd be no question to leave him (Cowan) in the side. As far as the Ashes are concerned, I think the home test series will make the waters a bit clearer. On the Argus report - it also allows for hunches/intuition. So I'm happy for them to back someone who may not standout on stats, just can't have a team full of them. @D-Train - just on "...if that's all he is offering.." - he has really developed well in the bat pad position, which is worth something. How much though i dunno!

  • Meety on April 27, 2012, 10:55 GMT

    @BillyCC - cool with the short/mid/long term strategies in theory, however, I really do think that Hussey is not an option as an opener unless an injury occured during a match. By the time the Ashes rolls around he'll be 38, whilst that may not be too old for a middle order batsmen, there are very few batsmen who have lasted that late as an opener. Sunny Gavaskar retired at about 37, & that was fairly old, I think Grenidge & Haynes were closer to 40 (I think), & their powers were diminished by then. If it is short term you want, it has to be Rogers or Katich, (IMO). I like Davis, but (atm) he is a one season wonder, if he backs up last summer next season - he would be straight into calculations. Maddinson has gone backwards, Burns I think is the real deal, (just needs a good start to the summer to confirm it), Khawaja needs to read S Waughs autobiography & I still have ? mark over Cooper as his stats are inflated from playing in the Intercontinental.

  • BillyCC on April 27, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @RightArmEverything, I have a long-term strategy and a short-term strategy. Neither would involve Cowan. The short-term strategy is to regain the Ashes, in which case, I would move Hussey (whom I prefer over Watson) to open alongside Warner. Warner is a matchwinner but he is inconsistent, in which case you need Hussey there to give him the strike if he's on fire, or Hussey to stay and convert starts into hundreds (why I prefer Hussey over Watson). Cowan does neither very well. There are other changes I would make to the batting lineup but you only asked about the openers. The long term strategy is to regain and stay at number one for a number of years but not necessarily regain the Ashes. In which case, you would choose someone young now (which Cowan is not) and establish themselves. Hughes had his chance but guys like Maddinson, Burns, Khawaja, Davis, and Cooper could well be given the nod in the coming year and they all have age on their side.

  • RightArmEverything on April 27, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    @BillyCC, who would be your choice to replace Cowan as opener? He was one of the most in-form openers at the time that he was selected. Selection based on form/merit was a key point of the Argus review, for those who continue to harp on about that. I think the selectors are doing a good job currently. So far Cowan has not performed much better or worse than others in the top 6. Each has got starts and each has one half century on this tour without capitalising. At the moment I'm not sure anyone else is going to do a better job as opener (that is nobody that is young enough to stick around for a few years, given the selectors' longer term view).

  • rama_krish on April 26, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    It is possible that we have become too focused on 'stars" and forgotten that it is the team that wins or loses matches. Cowan's contributions in the game are solid; his batting may have failed him but his values to the team goes much farther than that. It is much better to have 11 players who function collectively as a team than to have 11 stars who try to win the match for themselves. As for Ponting - while he still has something to offer he needs to be careful not to allow his reputation to be tarnished by a less-than-stellar ending. He needs to allow himself the privilege to be remembered as a great batsman - second only to the Prince of Port-of-Spain.

  • on April 26, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    Per Boycs, the job of an opener is to see off the new ball without losing his wicket. W/e run is scored in that period is bonus. Cowan does that admirably. The problem is he doesn't capitalize on his starts and build long innings. He gets out and leaves it on his stroke makers to make the runs for the team.

  • Paul_Rampley on April 26, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    @DTrain, Khawaja is the most solid batsman in Australia, he has a very good technique mainly because he hasn't played alot of 20 20 cricket. He will be back this summer with a great shield season, world class player and can't wait to see him back in Clarke's team. Cowan has nothing on him, watching Cowan bat puts me to sleep.

  • kh1902 on April 26, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    While I agree the wickets probably haven't been the best to bat on, the Australian batting line-up isn't above criticism. The top order looked a bit vulnerable even against India at home, although admittedly they've now replaced Shaun Marsh. Despite the mountain of runs Ponting scored during the summer, I think he will be out of his depth against stronger opponents. I think they'll really be shown up against South Africa later this year. I only have faith in Clarke, Hussey and to a lesser extent Watson.

  • A.Ak on April 26, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    He is playing his second or third series, but talking too much. He is the only inexperienced batsman in their lineup. He cannot say "look at Ponting,Clarke, Watson, Hussey... and they have failed too". Instead, he should have looked at Wade and realize what he had done in this game.

  • C--H on April 26, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    Cowan averages nearly as much as Warner, stays in for much longer, and has been in the international game for much less time. Also, I've watched him play, and he looks much more assured than Warner. You have to remember that the Windies pitches are a spinner's paradise, and there's a bit in it for the quicks as well.

  • D-Train on April 26, 2012, 13:41 GMT

    He may be right by saying that the conditions are difficult and a score of 50 is probably worth more than that. But the fact still remains that he averages only 25 this series and he needs to score more runs than that, because if that's all he is offering then there is somebody else out there who can do a better job.

    Definitely not Khawaja. Been in poor form for a while now. And from what i've heard he doesn't provide a lot for the team off-field either.

    At the moment he's been saved by the fact that our batting stocks aren't very strong at the moment. Our next test match isn't until November. So that leaves 7 months for guys like Forrest, Bailey, Quiney, Davis, Burns and Cooper to take the next step and we only need one of them to do so and I think Cowan is gone.

  • king_kenie on April 26, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    What I admire about the Australians is their calculated approach to batting on these tracks. Its something all teams should emulate. In the second innings in Barbados and the first in Trinidad they were clueless as to how to play the off spinning delivery, then they caught a glimpse of Narsingh and Shiv's partnership in the WI first innings in T'dad which rendered the their spinners ineffective for most of their stay. The Aussies were never the same. They stopped cover driving and started slug sweeping. Its cricket 101 for playing on tough wickets: Learn what the successful batsmen are doing and if it is within your ability to do the same then use that when you bat... now if only the other West Indians batsmen could grasp this.... man oh man!

  • landl47 on April 26, 2012, 13:05 GMT

    'Look beyond the scoreboard' is what a batsmen who averages under 30 in his 7 tests against two of the weaker attacks in world cricket (India and WI) says.

  • satish619chandar on April 26, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    The problem is, their records are compared with Hayden and Langer and Ponting is compared with himself.. If u ask me, they performed decently against a charged up attack which attacks relentlessly.. They were not that bad as media or some people say.. Even the heavy attackers in Warner and Watson need to adapt in snail pace and have a fair share of luck to survive here..

  • jupiterlaw on April 26, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    @UDDALAK BANERJEE - WI have fielded test teams that included the individuals you have mentioned plus Sarwan, Taylor, Ramdin and Benn whom you did not mention, and they had not done as well as this team is doing. In fact, they had done worse.

  • Sunil_Batra on April 26, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    @LewisEdwards and @mari2619 are correct, Cowan should be dropped, he is averaging 29 after 2 full series. Players such as KHawaja only got 2 games at at time to prove themselves whereas this guy has had 2 full series and is averaging 25 for this series. Worse aspect about Cowan is that he loves to talk himself up, a 20 is like a 50 for him and 50 is like a 100 for him. And why is he talking for the Anzacs, Punter or Clarke or Hussey should do it, not a guy who averages 29 and is a spoiled private school player.

  • PFEL on April 26, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    @sriraj G.S. - So Brian Lara really made a 600! :)

  • RandyOZ on April 26, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    Cowan is almost as poor an opener as Struass, Khawaja needs to come in ASAP.

  • BillyCC on April 26, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    @RightArmEverything, what a ridiculous comment. A casual observer of the game can see Cowan has technical problems; just like how Phil Hughes has very noticeable issues. You don't need to play Test cricket to figure it out.

  • on April 26, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    I think batting has always been tough in westindies even for indian team. It did struggle most of the time. So Australia can take heart from it too. BUt one thing stands out of the series is that westindies if selects the best 11 which is as follows 1. chris gayle 2.simmons 3.pollard 4.samuels 5. bravo 6.baugh 7 sammy 8 russel 9 naraine/edwards 10 roach 11 .shillingford . IT WOULD BE A REAL TOUGH TIME FOR ANY TEAM TO WIN HERE.

  • on April 26, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    I think the tests were tough and that should be taken into account.But one more thing that has come through these is that westindies as a team have really grown. IF we consider that today they can have a team like 1. CHRIS GAYLE 2. SIMMONS 3.POLLARD 4.SAMULELS 5 BRAVO 6.BAUGH 7.SAMMY 8 RUSSEL 9.NARAINE/EDWARDS/COOPER 10 SILLINGFORD 11 .ROACH . it WOULD HAVE BEEN A NIGHTMARE FOR ALL TEAMS TO EVEN TOUR WESTINDIES.

  • Simoc on April 26, 2012, 9:49 GMT

    Its a shame that these pitches the WI are providing are so average. They may be good for cricket fanatics but 2.3 to 2.6 runs per over over isn't going to bring a lot of spectaters in any time soon. Its very apparent Mari and his mates don't understand the game at all but they are a source of amusement to anyone who has played. This Oz team is doing very well.Obviously there is a way to go, but they're on track so far.

  • daSaj on April 26, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Ed Cowan is the best man to open the Australian batting with Dave Warner; it's not like he's failing as bad as Phil Hughes was before he was dropped; he dosen't yet deserve to be dropped. Having watched a bit of the tests, he looks confident in his shots and leaves the ball well; displaying how we are all taught to play cricket "play each ball on its merits". Playing South Africa in November will be a good test to see where he and the team are at; don't make any unforced changes; leave Haddin in the Shield until he gets his form back

  • maddy20 on April 26, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    What is worse than scoring at an astonishingly low rate against a team ranked 6 places below you> Defending your performance with statements like this!

  • on April 26, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    I always follow a simple rule of thumb for matches in West Indies - multiply your runs scored by 1.5 and that is their true value!

  • popcorn on April 26, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    The Literate Ed Cowan reminds me of John Buchanan.

  • Green_and_Gold on April 26, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Completely agree with what he is saying about people waking up, looking at the scorecard and then forming an opinion on how well someone is playing (without ever seeing them actually play). Its become too easy to publically criticise players now (these forums are a perfect example) and every man and his dog is calling for some change. Give him a few more series to see if he settles and gets the big runs. With Ponting and Hussey at the end of their careers you will soon see more new talent enter the team anyway.

  • on April 26, 2012, 8:28 GMT

    I'm with Cowan on this - he's done enough to demonstrate that he'll deliver in due course. He needs to be given time. Criticism of Warner is ridiculous. The way Warner plays, he can win a match by himself as he did against India in Perth. All you need him to do is really fire up once or twice in half a dozen test matches and he'll win them for you off his own bat. Consistency isn't important in his case so long as he lights up once in a while, much like Gilchrist did and like Pieterson does for England. SAF is going to have a torrid time in Australia next summer. With Mitch and Hadds consigned to the junkheap of history, Australia has a real sniff.

  • Mad_Hamish on April 26, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    @Vindaliew, um discounting tail enders Cowen, Warner, Ponting averaged 25.33, 28.50 & 24.33 respectively Clarke averaged 31.33, Watson 32.16 Hussey currently averages 40.80 Wade 39.60. For the Windies Chanderpaul averages an astonishing 92.33 and the next best of the batmsen is Bravo averaging 34. Only Chanderpaul and Watson have gone past 50 more than 1 time.... In terms of averages or total runs made I don't think Cowan has stood out as all that far behind people through the series.

  • RightArmEverything on April 26, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    @BillyCC, maybe you should get in touch with Cowan and give him some pointers, eh, you obviously have a lot of experience and expertise batting at international level. @LewisEdwards, Cowan now has 3 half centuries to his name I think, which isn't a bad start to his test career at all really. Luckily, unlike yourself, the selectors seem keen on giving players time to develop and prove themselves at the top level. Also, a couple of comments on here about Cowan comparing himself or the team to the ANZAC spirit - where in this article has he said that? If you read it again, his point was about being grateful for what the ANZACS did and admiration of the qualities they showed.

  • on April 26, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    If Cowan scores against steyn, philander n morkel in home series, no one will be qustioning. He will get that chance. Lets see. But some batsman when they are playing well control the proceedings gradually. This factor is missing from his batting. Against good oppositions this is crucial. WI batting is in bad shape. Darren Bravo needs to step up.

  • on April 26, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    At the end of the day you have to look at the results, and australia are heading for a series win, only one aussie has scored a hundred and that was Wade, Cowan has not played many internationals but he looks a lot more assured at this level then phil hughes, Cowan is the best opener we hav to partner Warner. Obviously if Cowan was to have another 2 or 3 poor tests then he would not justify his place but i think he did well to score a 50 in the 3rd test and it shows he has improved over the series. Also Warner has already cemented his test place with 2 awesome hundreds, Warner has the most potential out of all the younger batsman in aus. I think Ponting is very near the end of his time but at the moment there is no one knocking down the door for selection so he can keep his place. Watson needs to pull his socks up and get the big hundreds...50 is not enough for a player of his quality

  • on April 26, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    The cricketing commentary is fair enough, but why is there no link to Stan Bisset? Anyone struck by the last three paragraphs might like to take a look at http://www.kokodahistorical.com.au/index.php?/Stan-Bisset-MC-OAM-MID.html

  • on April 26, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    Well said Ed Cowan. I like the way the man speaks AND plays. He's obvioulsy spot on and the home soil critics, as well as Michael Holding, might also choose to see what a great preparation this tour has been for solidifying the teams skills ahead of South Africa, Sri Lanka and the biggest, albeit fading star, Mother England.

  • Mary_786 on April 26, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Well said LewisEdwards, Cowan is a joke, who is he to tell us that we don't understand the game. Cowan is a spoiled private school kid. And as usual Cowan goes and states that his 50 is worth a 100, talk about speaking highly of yourself, learn some humility Cowan, you are not Punter or Sachin. He should get the Allan border medal for most annoying batsman in our history.

  • Vindaliew on April 26, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    What happened to letting your performances speak for themselves? By speaking up and trying to defend his average performances (compared to that of his teammates) Cowan has cheapened his stock. Australia can sledge on the field, they should be man enough to take it from their press off the field. Let their performances speak for themselves - when you have true class it's a matter of time, and Cowan has shown that he has class. There's no point in saying how difficult batting has been when your teammates (and even some of the West Indian batsmen) have done better than you have - just have faith in yourself and keep trying.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on April 26, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    I appreciate that batting conditions have been difficult throughout this series due to the nature of the wickets. That said I'm still to be convinced that Cowan, as nice a guy as he is , is truly of Test quality. I'm certain that Watson isn't a Test number 3 and I worry that Ponting's flaws that have developed with age mean he is a Test to Test prospect. Australia urgently need to find more top 6 Test batsmen and at the moment none immediately spring to mind of those in the wings for immediate use. Am very much looking forward to the England Lions v Australia A matches in about 3 months.

  • Mad_Hamish on April 26, 2012, 6:11 GMT

    There's some truth on both sides of things currently. The Australian batting has been dodgy for 3 or 4 years and there are currently large question marks about it. However it's also fair to say that the conditions have made it tough (I think the only batsmen averaging over 40 in the series are Chanderpaul and currently Hussey - not counting Harris and Lyon who are doing it on not outs). Long or even medium term Warner, Cowan, Watson, Ponting, Hussey have questions about them and neither Warner or Cowan have done much to answer them in this series (Warner has probably raised more than he's answered) but when you look at the Windies averages for the series they might be scraping pass marks out of it. Certainly right now I think English supporters would be happier than Australian supporters to see them walking out opening in the Ashes but I'm not sure how many better choices there are and Cowan has changed his game before so maybe he'll lift again.

  • othello22 on April 26, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Well said, Ed. Scoring has been near impossible on these miserable dustbowl pitches and even when you middle one it barely makes it off the square. Fifty or even forty is a very respectable score in these conditions. @Marcio - People just never grow tired of knocking Australia mate. Of course you're right, but that won't stop them finding something else to whinge about. If Australia wins, then Australia are pathetic because they can only beat weak, low ranked teams. If Australia, lose, then they are pathetic for being beaten by such a weak, low ranked team. If the match is drawn, then Australia are pathetic because they can't even beat a weak, low ranked team. No point trying to makes sense of stupidity mate, because there is no sense to be found.

  • Paul_Rampley on April 26, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    BillyCC you are spot on, Cowan is not good at this level, worst thing about him is that he always justifies his scores even though he averages 39 at this level. Give me a break Cowan and just focus on getting runs. And can't believe he compared the effort today to the Anzac spirit. Just gets run mate which you haven't been able to do after 2 full series.

  • Mary_786 on April 26, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Totall disagree with Cowan. Agree with BillyCC, Cowan has too many flaws at this level, and how he can justify having an average of 29 and still talk himself up is beyond me. How he compares his innings to the Anzac effort is going too far. Cowan needs to realise that it doesn't matter how well he talks or justifies himself, at the end of the day guys like Ponting are still in the team because they average over 50, Cowan is not good enough at this level.

  • Meety on April 26, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    @Marcio - agree 100%. The Numbers Game segment on this website highlighted how hard the WIndies has been for scoring runs, the slowest region in world cricket in RPO, there FC scene is dominated by spinners where batsmen are doing really well if they average 30! Doesn't take rocket science that it is a low & slow scoring region at the moment. If India's batting line up struggled in these subcontinental conditions. @wongwright - well said! @dunger.bob - ditto!

  • simonviller on April 26, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    @Marcio ! You are correct ;" the nonsense written on these board is ridiiculous ". Thanks for the imformation !!!

  • dunger.bob on April 26, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    This Aussie team is growing into something half decent and the team orientation the players seem to have is a big part of it. .. its like they sat down and said " right, we aren't a team of champions so lets see if we can be a champion team". I'll take the latter most days anyhow. ..

  • apatel898 on April 26, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    if you want to play at the highest level you need to accept critism whether it is good or bad. in order to win a test match you need to score runs and not just in 1 place(where india found out). hopefully cowan can learn from his mistakes and score runs and be the next WALL

  • wongwright on April 26, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    I TOTALLY agree with everything Ed has said here. It is SPOT ON! How quickly people forget our Indian Summer in Oz and the huge scores made by Punter, Warner and Clarke. This is a cricket TEAM! It has been a really great team effort in West Indies. Great to see Lyon and Starc getting wickets too. Bodes well for India. Michael Clarke is doing a great job as skipper. He reminds me a lot of Mark Taylor who inherited an amazing arsenal of talent when he became captain. He is aggressive and smart. The Aussies are rebuilding too, just like the Windies. Well done guys, and thank you.

  • BillyCC on April 26, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    For Cowan's supposed great technique, he has too many technical flaws against both pace and spin. Too many outs via lbw, often because he doesn't get his bat down quickly enough against fast bowlers and because he misjudges the line against spin.

  • Marcio on April 26, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    I seem to be one of the few people that understand what Cowan is saying, because I have been saying it from day 1 of the first test. The nonsense written on these board is ridiculous. Australia struggle against spin and on slow tracks. But oh yeah, they have scored a lot more runs than the WI. And the WI have struggled against Lyon - (Australia's grade cricket spinner according to some here) - can barely score against him most of the time, and he's Australia's leading wicket taker. How does that work? These are conditions where 300 is a big score, where a fifty is worth 80 on other grounds. Simple. If the WI can score 350-400 to win the game in the 4th innings they should all be given OBEs, because they will deserve it.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Marcio on April 26, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    I seem to be one of the few people that understand what Cowan is saying, because I have been saying it from day 1 of the first test. The nonsense written on these board is ridiculous. Australia struggle against spin and on slow tracks. But oh yeah, they have scored a lot more runs than the WI. And the WI have struggled against Lyon - (Australia's grade cricket spinner according to some here) - can barely score against him most of the time, and he's Australia's leading wicket taker. How does that work? These are conditions where 300 is a big score, where a fifty is worth 80 on other grounds. Simple. If the WI can score 350-400 to win the game in the 4th innings they should all be given OBEs, because they will deserve it.

  • BillyCC on April 26, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    For Cowan's supposed great technique, he has too many technical flaws against both pace and spin. Too many outs via lbw, often because he doesn't get his bat down quickly enough against fast bowlers and because he misjudges the line against spin.

  • wongwright on April 26, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    I TOTALLY agree with everything Ed has said here. It is SPOT ON! How quickly people forget our Indian Summer in Oz and the huge scores made by Punter, Warner and Clarke. This is a cricket TEAM! It has been a really great team effort in West Indies. Great to see Lyon and Starc getting wickets too. Bodes well for India. Michael Clarke is doing a great job as skipper. He reminds me a lot of Mark Taylor who inherited an amazing arsenal of talent when he became captain. He is aggressive and smart. The Aussies are rebuilding too, just like the Windies. Well done guys, and thank you.

  • apatel898 on April 26, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    if you want to play at the highest level you need to accept critism whether it is good or bad. in order to win a test match you need to score runs and not just in 1 place(where india found out). hopefully cowan can learn from his mistakes and score runs and be the next WALL

  • dunger.bob on April 26, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    This Aussie team is growing into something half decent and the team orientation the players seem to have is a big part of it. .. its like they sat down and said " right, we aren't a team of champions so lets see if we can be a champion team". I'll take the latter most days anyhow. ..

  • simonviller on April 26, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    @Marcio ! You are correct ;" the nonsense written on these board is ridiiculous ". Thanks for the imformation !!!

  • Meety on April 26, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    @Marcio - agree 100%. The Numbers Game segment on this website highlighted how hard the WIndies has been for scoring runs, the slowest region in world cricket in RPO, there FC scene is dominated by spinners where batsmen are doing really well if they average 30! Doesn't take rocket science that it is a low & slow scoring region at the moment. If India's batting line up struggled in these subcontinental conditions. @wongwright - well said! @dunger.bob - ditto!

  • Mary_786 on April 26, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Totall disagree with Cowan. Agree with BillyCC, Cowan has too many flaws at this level, and how he can justify having an average of 29 and still talk himself up is beyond me. How he compares his innings to the Anzac effort is going too far. Cowan needs to realise that it doesn't matter how well he talks or justifies himself, at the end of the day guys like Ponting are still in the team because they average over 50, Cowan is not good enough at this level.

  • Paul_Rampley on April 26, 2012, 5:45 GMT

    BillyCC you are spot on, Cowan is not good at this level, worst thing about him is that he always justifies his scores even though he averages 39 at this level. Give me a break Cowan and just focus on getting runs. And can't believe he compared the effort today to the Anzac spirit. Just gets run mate which you haven't been able to do after 2 full series.

  • othello22 on April 26, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Well said, Ed. Scoring has been near impossible on these miserable dustbowl pitches and even when you middle one it barely makes it off the square. Fifty or even forty is a very respectable score in these conditions. @Marcio - People just never grow tired of knocking Australia mate. Of course you're right, but that won't stop them finding something else to whinge about. If Australia wins, then Australia are pathetic because they can only beat weak, low ranked teams. If Australia, lose, then they are pathetic for being beaten by such a weak, low ranked team. If the match is drawn, then Australia are pathetic because they can't even beat a weak, low ranked team. No point trying to makes sense of stupidity mate, because there is no sense to be found.