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Are Test-only players a thing of the past?

Are players like Ed Cowan a thing of the past? (AAP Image/Julian Smith).
Roar Guru
24th September, 2015
6

In the mould of Chris Rogers and Ed Cowan, I wonder, is the idea of a ‘Test-only’ cricketer slowly becoming rarer?

When I think of Test-only cricketers I think of the two batsmen named above that have opened for Australia, I think of Nathan Lyon and I think of Peter Siddle.

But with so much cricket being played all year round, more more limited-overs matches than Tests, will these types of players who only ply their trade in the longer forms become a thing of the past?

I thought Justin Langer’s comments earlier this week regarding up-and-coming West Australian batsman Cameron Bancroft were really interesting. Despite having the patience and grafting style of a traditional longer form batsman, Langer believes Bancroft still has the tools and ability to succeed at ODI and Twenty20 level.

The modern-day prototype batsman can adjust their batting given the format and circumstance, and is capable of both the patience and ‘digging in’ style but also the whirlwind slather approach for short-form cricket. But then again, maybe not everyone can be like David Warner.

As interesting as I found Langer’s comments I was surprised. I often felt the same about Queenslander and possible Test incumbent Joe Burns. I thought he would be similar to Rogers, a purely Test player. Soon enough he was in the Australian ODI side partnering David Warner against England.

I suppose some players are just suited to the longer forms for a range of reasons. In the case of Rogers and Cowan their signature ability to see of the swinging new ball and desire to occupy the crease meant first-class and Test cricket is really the only game for them.

Siddle has become more of a pressure building and steady quick in recent years since no longer being the fierce leader of a young bowling attack. He just doesn’t have the firepower or weaponry of either Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson or Nathan Coulter-Nile, meaning he just isn’t as useful in one day or T20 cricket.

This is now an era where players simply must become more versatile and flexible between formats, such is the constant nature of modern cricket. With the opportunity and big dollars available, especially in the lucrative T20 competitions, it is no wonder we are seeing less and less of the old school traditional types like Rogers.

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Most of the best players around the world still have an involvement in shorter formats of the game, and one could only wonder whether this a trend on the rapid decline.