Watson, not Cowan, must open the Test batting

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Australian batsman Ed Cowan celebrates scoring his maiden century on day four of the first cricket Test against South Africa at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 12, 2012. (Image: AAP/Dave Hunt)

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The Test squad for the India tour has been announced. Both Ed Cowan and Shane Watson are in the squad.

Ed Cowan has performed admirably in the opening slot at domestic level, while Shane Watson plays his best cricket as an opener.

Who should partner David Warner in the India series?

Did Watson not he win back-to-back Border medals as an opener until Mickey Arthur convinced Michael Clarke to bat him at 3 or 4?

Shane Watson plays his best cricket as an opening batsman and his record as an opener since the Ashes series in 2009 until the South African Test series in South Africa in 2011 justifies his return to the opening slot.

The role of the opener is to score runs at a decent run rate; take the shine of the new ball and to attack the opposing bowlers with positive, controlled aggression before the opposing side’s bowling attack can find their right lines and lengths.

Shane Watson is the ideal opener. He is a type of player who loves to come in at 0-0. The ball is brand new; the field is up and the bowlers have not had a chance to find their right line.

When the score is 0-0, Shane Watson has a chance to attack the opposing bowlers from ball one. He treats the good balls with respect but he will punish anything that is pitched full, wide and short.

Even though he scored only two centuries from 2009 to November 2011, he made a positive contribution as an opener. He took the shine of the new ball and he scored his runs at a decent run rate.

Former captains Mark Taylor and Ian Chappell are strong advocates of Shane Watson partnering David Warner at the top of the order.

The chance to take the game away from the opposition is so important to set the pace of the innings and the mode of the game. If Warner and Watson have posted 100 runs before lunch, they have done their job.

And, any partnership beyond 100 before tea is a huge bonus. Therefore, they have set the game up for Michael Clarke and co to build a strong first innings total.

The biggest disadvantage of Shane Watson batting at 3 or 4 is his style of game is not suited to a middle order role.

Shane Watson is an attacking batsman who loves to set the tone of the side innings. Did Clive Lloyd bat Gordon Greenidge in the number 4 slot for the West Indies?

Former NSW and Australian Rebel opener Steve Smith scored brilliant back to back tons during the Rebel’s tour of South Africa. Before the tour, he made consistent scores as an opener for NSW.

After his return from South Africa, the NSW selectors batted him from 3 to 6 with little success. He did not dominate the scorebooks for NSW as a number 3 to number 6 batsman for NSW.

The NSW selectors did not bat him in his best position.

I have the feeling that the selectors have treated Shane Watson in a similar fashion to Smith. How many opening batsman have made the successful transition from the opening role to a number 3 or 4?

In conclusion, you cannot have Phil Hughes and Ed Cowan in the same side. Ed Cowan is the most overrated left hand batsman who has worn the baggy green cap and he has to go.

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