IN-FORM Test opener Ed Cowan is clearly a big fan of Shane Watson but wants to ensure the fit-again all-rounder’s days atop Australia’s batting order are long gone.
Cowan has made a solid fist of his call-up to the national team, scoring 166 runs at 41.5 in three Tests against India, including 74 in last week’s demolition in Perth that handed Australia a 3-0 series lead.
While Watson’s long-awaited return from calf and hamstring injuries in Sunday’s Big Bash semi-final was postponed on Friday, selectors must still weigh up how – or if – he will be used in the upcoming tour of the West Indies beginning in March.
The form of Cowan and devastating opening partner David Warner has prompted speculation Watson could be shuffled down the order, possibly at the expense of an out-of-sorts Shaun Marsh.
But Cowan believes only another strong performance in next week’s fourth and final Test, starting in Adelaide on Tuesday, will cement his position beyond this series.
“He (Watson) is probably the best player in the country so they certainly do have to fit him in,” Cowan said on Friday, before Australia’s players flew into Adelaide from home ports.
“It’s no different to any other team, when guys are coming back you’ve got to hold your place in the team through weight of runs.
“How I see my job is to make it so difficult for the selectors, that Shane Watson has to bat somewhere else in the batting order.
“That’s simply done by me going out and making runs and the rest takes care of itself.
“If they’re having a discussion ‘should Shane Watson be opening the batting?’ then I’m not doing my job.”
While Cowan’s performances and combination with Warner have earned plaudits, the 29-year-old was modest about his achievements in the baggy green so far.
“Two 50s in three games … that’s OK, that’s a pass, but it’s not brilliant,” Cowan said.
“That’s why there’s excitement for this Test as well, to really cement that spot and make that a really difficult conversation for the tour of the West Indies.”
Cowan would dearly love to make that statement with a maiden Test century in Adelaide but admitted he may have let the milestone become a distraction in recent knocks.
“I have probably thought about it (a century) too much once I am in,” he said.
“There was that moment in Perth where I looked up and thought ‘I am flying again this morning, if I keep going like this I will be 100 by lunch’ and all of a sudden I was sitting on my bum back in the change room.
“The key to those big scores for me has been to continue with my rhythms and mental routines and maybe not look at the scoreboard too much.”
Cowan insisted Australia were not lacking in motivation for next week’s dead rubber.
“It’s exciting that we’re on the verge of something special as a team,” Cowan said.
“Four-nil would be an absolute drubbing of the second best team in the world.” – AAP