A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: I will bat with absolute freedom during South Africa Test series, says Ed Cowan

Cowan was ecstatic after scoring his maiden Test century

Fresh off scoring his maiden century in the first Test against South Africa, Australia opening batsman Ed Cowan has revealed that he plans to continue playing his natural game during the last two Test matches as well.

Before the start of the series, Cowan was looked down upon as a “one-pace plodder”, who was only good for defending at one end, while his opening partner David Warner carried on prospering at the other.

Cowan noted that the ability to play his shots more freely was responsible for him scoring a century since he felt much more comfortable out in the middle.

Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo, Cowan said: “That’s really important for me, I’m at my best when I’m defending well but I’m still an attacking batsman, rather than a defensive batsman who’s defending well and trying to fashion runs any way they can. When I’m playing well I’m putting away the bad ball but leaving and defending the good ball. It sounds simple but it’s sometimes easier said than done. Sometimes in Sheffield Shield cricket, on a few of the wickets we do play on, you can sometimes get a bit defensive. But to trust your instincts on good Test match wickets was a big lesson I took out of the West Indies, particularly that last innings [55 in Dominica], just backing myself to score around the ground as I know I can.”

Cowan knew that he was coming into the series having failed to score as many runs as he would have liked, but one major advantage he had this year that he didn’t have last year was the fact that he knew and understood the demands of Test cricket while batting and while fielding as well.

“One thing was coming in with runs last year and probably being a little disappointed to not score more, this year I feel like I’ve been playing well but not got the big runs, but as frustrating as that is, I’ve known the judgement will come from here on. I feel like I’m in a good place technically and mentally to make runs, having seen what is required. I don’t think anyone that has criticised me on how I’m playing this season has seen me bat, so I’m not particularly worried about that. I feel like my game is suited to Test cricket, particularly Test cricket in Australia and hard, fast pitches. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and the only way to really prove your point is to score, and make runs the currency that really counts,” Cowan added.

In an effort to score as many runs as possible during Sheffield Shield games, Cowan decided to move to Tasmania, where he worked on perfecting his mentality and concentration during matches.

“In a new group that’s always a risk of trying to, not impose yourself on a group, but fit in, you go to every length to make sure that you’re doing absolutely everything at full tilt, which is important in terms of preparation but I was probably at some stages maybe going over the top with that. Not necessarily in preparation but on game days sometimes, like doing lots of fielding before a fielding day. The trick is knowing when you can conserve a little bit of energy, and that’s not in the lead-up days, but around the Test match there are probably places. The preparation over the last six weeks has been about knowing it is going to take a lot of mental energy to perform over the coming weeks, so while I’ve been pouring every effort into helping Tasmania win, just knowing there’s a big series around the corner,” Cowan said.

Talking about debutant Rob Quiney, Cowan noted that the Victoria batsman had benefited from having a consistent opening position in the domestic side.

“It’s another win for people who can add to the culture of teams and not detract from it, talking to any domestic player you’d know how talented Rob is, and it was just a question of him finding consistency. It probably came about through getting a job, which in his case was opening the batting for an extended period of time. He was one of those guys who batted at six or five, opened for a game and was then back to six, and I saw it myself moving to Tassie, how much that can improve your game just knowing that you’re playing and you’ve got a job to do. I don’t think anyone was surprised by his last 12 months or so. He’s been a good player for a very long time,” Cowan added.

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