Mark James Cosgrove
June 14, 1984, Elizabeth, Adelaide, South Australia
Left hand bat
Right arm medium
Mark Cosgrove would have loved nothing more than to be judged on his weight of runs, not his weight. But the modern cricket landscape focuses so heavily on fitness that Cosgrove never added to the three one-day internationals he played for Australia in 2006. By then, he was already a big man with an even larger reputation. A hard-hitting batsman known for his punishment of anything outside off from the fast men, Cosgrove made his first-class debut at 18 and was named the Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year in 2005. Nicknamed "Baby Boof" in those days, Cosgrove did his best to upstage his South Australia team-mate Darren Lehmann during a brilliant 2005-06 that began with a month-long suspension for returning unfit from a club stint in England. South Australia's ultimatum was lose five kilograms or the state contract. His response was to strike 736 runs at 66.90 in the Pura Cup and 591 at 73.87 in the one-day competition, which led to his ODI call-up. On debut against Bangladesh, Cosgrove opened and made 74 from 69 balls, but his stint in the team was short-lived.
After a couple of quieter seasons with South Australia - although he still averaged over 40 in both formats in 2009-10 - Cosgrove was axed by the struggling Redbacks and took up a contract with Tasmania. The Tigers were happy to have him, regardless of his physique, and in his first season with them he topped the Sheffield Shield run tally with 806 at 53.73 and helped them win the title. A consistent performer over four seasons with Tasmania, often as an opening batsman, Cosgrove again played in a Shield-winning side in 2012-13. However, following the 2013-14 season he declined a two-year contract extension and instead returned home to South Australia, the state that four years earlier said it had been "unable to help him fulfil his full potential".
Cosgrove also played three seasons of county cricket with Glamorgan and made his highest first-class score of 233 for them against Derbyshire. Then came an even greater challenge in the context of English domestic cricket - to revive Leicestershire, by then perennial Division Two strugglers. Alongside coach Andrew McDonald, a fellow Australian, he thrived on the responsibility and cracked four hundreds. Leicestershire finished bottom for the third year running. As he returned to Australia, he was pictured on exercise bikes, telling - convincingly - that he had not been fitter since those Australia caps almost a decade earlier. Leicestershire felt fitter, too: five Championship hundreds in 2016 helped to bring a few signs of life to a shrewdly-strengthened team. But they finished bottom again - Cosgrove their one batsmen of real substance - and he conceded the captaincy while agreeing to extend his stay until 2019.
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