Ed Cowan finds balance between bat and pen
For Ed Cowan, playing Test cricket is like being in love. The relationship became a tad rocky when he arrived in India – Cowan got starts in Chennai and Hyderabad but failed to get past 50. Ahead of the third Test, Australia’s left-handed opening batsman reconciled with his beloved format and ended up being the top-scorer of the innings at the end of Day 2.
In his presentation to coach Mickey Arthur, Cowan wrote that he’d like to play the role of the team’s anchor. Cowan’s 86 runs off 238 balls were the fruits of his determination to stick to his batting plan.
Cowan is part of a rare breed of modern cricketers who pursue a parallel profession off the field. His intellect, thoughtfulness and flair for words make the 30-year-old an impressive writer of the game. After the second day’s play in Mohali, Cowan caught up with bcci.tv to speak about his innings and delved into the interesting and tricky relation between his pen and bat.
You got some starts in Chennai and Hyderabad. What did you change in this knock?
I don’t think I changed anything technically. But mentally, I came in with an approach to bat for a long time, taking the runs out of the equation and focussing on the time at the crease. I set myself a goal today to face a certain number of balls, and it was nice to make it more than a 30 or a 40.
How would you rate this knock?
I think it was an important innings for the team and it’s nice to contribute there. A little disappointed that I couldn’t bat on for another hour and a half, because it was a big moment in the game when I got out. I hope it turns out to be a match-winning knock.
You recently wrote a piece on the difficulties that cricketers face on overseas Test tours. Is this tour the toughest for you?
Absolutely! Touring India is so foreign for us. It takes a bit of time to get to know the conditions and how your game needs to be adapted to suit them. It’s been nice to see the guys improve throughout the tour – we have got a lot of guys who haven’t played Test cricket on the subcontinent before. From that point of view, it’s been really positive to see the batsmen improve steadily.
You mentioned how Steve Waugh would embrace the local culture of a foreign land and translate that into on-field success. Have you developed any such method for yourself?
I’m the kind of guy who likes to get out and around and I feel a bit crazy to lock myself up in a hotel room. So it’s been nice to go see places, especially here in Mohali, where it is less hectic than a few other places in India. I went to the flea market with my wife yesterday and am really enjoying it up here.
Does writing help you as a cricketer?
I can help as long as you don’t become too self-analytical while writing. If you can separate batting and writing, then it definitely helps because it gives you something to focus on apart from the cricket. It’s always good to have other interests as a cricketer. It can get to you as well if you’re a bit of a writer and get too self-critical. It can bog you down a bit. But I feel like I’ve found a sort of balance.
Do you feel like you think more about the game than many of your fellow cricketers?
I think everyone’s different and knows what works for them. Some guys who are non-thinkers and who try to think too much about their game, they get bogged down. I know I play my best cricket when I plan well and once I step on the field, let go of all the emotions.