If patience is a virtue, then Ed Cowan has cornered the market in honourable behaviour.
Not one to rush things, the transplanted Tasmanian was more than content to occupy the crease. So delighted was he to be making his debut against the Indians in the Boxing Day test that he monopolized one end for two hundred and eighty-eight minutes as he top scored with an excellent sixty-eight.
To his teammates it mattered not that Cowan scored a piffling fifteen runs in the opening session. He was doing his job, which is to take the shine off the new ball, and tire the new ball bowlers out. Not to mention getting through the first two hours with his wicket intact.
That the twenty-nine year old decided the appropriate way to do this was by boring the opposition into submission was neither here nor there. Within the laws of the game, a competitor must do what is required of him for the betterment of his side. It is not for any player to concern himself with the perceptions of outsiders. It was his team that counted. All for one and one for all. He was certainly doing his bit for the other ten.
Cowan was selfless in his approach.
It was an intelligent approach from the privately schooled left-hander who has waited so long for an opportunity. He wasn’t about to squander his long awaited chance to make it in the big time. And maybe he has benefitted from the wait. That Cowan played like a seasoned pro from the get-go was a splendid advertisement for debuting at a more ripened age.
It allowed him to settle back while opening partner David Warner was blasting away at the other end. Meanwhile, the former Sydneysider was content to let ball after ball pass by through to the keeper. He played only at the absolute necessary. This is what an old fashioned opener does.
Australia has a dasher at one end and a plodder at the other. They may have found the ideal opening partnership.
It’s not that the newbie can’t play scintillating shots when the moment takes him. Once he opened his shoulders in the second session, the honour of his foe was impugned on more than one occasion as a number of glorious cover drives were sent slithering their way across the grassy expanses of MCG in search of the enticing rewards often found gathering in the vicinity of the boundary rope. No added seasoning was required. They were as tasteful as can be.
Cowan appears to be one of those players that belong at this level, with the baggy green cap cutting the perfect fit.
And with a first up effort like this, Ed Cowan is a name we are all going to be hearing a lot more of over the next few years.