Cowan wins selectors' backing
Test opener Ed Cowan has received a vote of confidence from Australia's chairman of selectors John Inverarity.
- Related Content
Cowan, who made scores of 42 and 16 for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield this week, has averaged just 29.83 with the bat in his seven Test matches.
And with three openers - Rob Quiney, Phillip Hughes and Liam Davis - being selected in the Australia A team to face South Africa in a three-day tour match at the SCG, the pressure on Cowan is beginning to mount.
But the left-hander was publicly supported by Inverarity today ahead of series against the Proteas and Sri Lanka this summer.
"He (Cowan) is a very well-performed player and a great team man," Inverarity told reporters at the MCG.
"We are backing him. There are a lot of players, who in their first five or six games, haven't set the world on fire and have come through and flourished. We picked Ed Cowan and he deserved to be picked.
"Ed made his debut here (the MCG) less than 12 months ago and made 70-odd in the first innings and played very well. His last Test in the West Indies, he got 50 and played very well when runs were very hard to come by. We are backing him to do well."
Inverarity does want other options to be ready though, adding that the three openers picked in the Australia A squad were of 'great interest to us'.
He has been closely watching Cowan this week, attending all four days of the Tigers' Shield match against Victoria at the MCG.
Inverarity also witnessed a Ricky Ponting master-class, with the 37-year-old scoring a sublime 162 not out in Tasmania's first innings of 439 for five.
And Ponting's vintage display - which included a series of trademark on-drives and pull shots - was one that delighted Inverarity.
"Very happy (to see Ponting bat so well)," he said.
"It was terrific to see. Ricky played well the first day but he just played beautifully on the second day. He was in sparkling form which was great to see with an appetite undiminished."
With Victorian left-armer Jon Holland ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury, less than a fortnight after being anointed as Australia's number two Test spinner by Inverarity, discussion has raged over who would step into the side if Nathan Lyon is either dropped or injured.
Michael Beer, who has played two Tests, was not picked in the Australia A team announced on Friday, with the responsibility of being the first-choice spinner falling to Victorian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
"He is a very good cricketer," Inverarity said.
"We want him as an all-rounder so we are very keen for him to get opportunity with his spin bowling. And we are putting him in the hot seat here (against South Africa)."