The upcoming Ashes series shapes as the make or break tour for Ed Cowan. With 17 Tests under his belt, there is growing pressure on the former opener to add to his maiden Test century.
After opening the batting with David Warner for the first part of his career, it appears likely that Cowan could drop one spot to make room for the return of Shane Watson and Chris Rogers.
With plenty of northern hemisphere experience, Cowan is expected to shine; even if the sun in England doesn’t always do so.
The mere fact Cowan is in England at the moment comes down to a decision he made five years ago.
A move to Tasmania in the 2009 season worked wonders for the patient left-handed opening batsman, who has scored consistent runs for his state ever since.
957 runs at an average of 53.16 was the perfect start to his Tasmanian career and kick-started his ascension to the role of Australian opener.
Four centuries in as many matches sent a strong message to Australian selectors before the home series against India, and it was this undeniable form that earned him his Baggy Green.
It was a reasonable debut series for Cowan, who scored 206 against India at an average of just over 34.
The Cowan-Warner partnership was a good one in theory, with the Tasmanian’s patience offsetting Warner’s outward aggression.
The only problem Cowan faces is his lack of big scores. In his 17 Tests, he has posted six half-centuries, but has only reached triple figures once.
That knock, against South Africa in 2012, was only interrupted on 136 when he was unluckily run out at the non-striker’s end after a deflection off Dale Steyn.
Cowan has also been a revelation fielding in close to the spinners. He already has 23 catches for the Test side; most of them off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.
With a stack of scores around the 30 mark, it’s little wonder that he averages just 32 at the moment. Cowan is a much better batsman than that, but needs big runs on the biggest stage to prove it.