A food critic once wrote the best waiters are the ones you don’t even realise are there. Perhaps the same could be said for cricket umpires.
First it was anger but now it’s hunger for former Test opener Ed Cowan as he fights to get his spot in the Australian team back.
Cowan played the last of his 18 Tests in the first match of the away Ashes series at Trent Bridge in July, dropped after averaging 31.28.
But he has begun the Sheffield Shield season for Tasmania in superb form, cracking three 50s and then 123 in his most recent match against South Australia to average 58.83.
With a half-century against touring England thrown in, the 31-year-old believes he has more to offer Australia’s Test side.
“Since I got dropped after the Trent Bridge Test I think I’ve been in good touch right through,” Cowan told reporters in Hobart.
“It’s about scoring runs, scoring runs consistently and scoring runs heavily, and the rest will take care of itself.”
Cowan admits he took his axing hard, after scores of nought and 14 in Nottingham, but says his focus has turned to a second chance.
“It always hurts getting dropped and you go through a whole variety of emotions,” he said.
“The first one’s usually anger and then that anger gets turned into hunger.
“I feel in a nice place headspace-wise, it’s good to be playing cricket at home.
“It feels like I was living out of a suitcase for a year and just to settle down and get back into playing cricket in Australia has been a nice change.”
Cowan will bat in his new position at No.3 for the Shield champions when they take on ladder-leading NSW at Bellerive from Friday.
The Tigers will be without Test squad member James Faulkner from the side that drew with the Redbacks earlier this week, his place taken by allrounder Evan Gulbis.
The Blues have lost Australian representative Moises Henriques from their 13-man squad to a groin strain, while off-spinner Manjot Singh could make his first class debut.
Tasmania: Tim Paine (capt), Xavier Doherty, Luke Butterworth, Mark Cosgrove, Ed Cowan, Alex Doolan, Ben Dunk, Evan Gulbis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Sam Rainbird, Clive Rose, Jordan Silk (12th man to be named).
NSW: Peter Nevill (capt), Sean Abbott, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Trent Copeland, Scott Henry, Nic Maddinson, Steve O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Ben Rohrer, Gurinder Sandhu, Manjot Singh (12th man to be named).