Ed Cowan © Getty Images
Ed Cowan has scored 590 runs at 65.55 and notched up four centuries during the ongoing Sheffield Shield © Getty Images

Chris Rogers’ continuing poor run with the bat has opened the gates for Ed Cowan to make a comeback in the national side for the ongoing series against India. Dropped after last year’s Ashes in England, Cowan has been in terrific form of late, and Rogers’ struggle might earn him a place, says Devarchit Varma.

Ed Cowan is topping the charts after five matches in the ongoing Sheffield Shield with 590 runs at 65.55 and notching up four centuries. Cowan, who had failed to do justice to his national call-up a couple of seasons back is in prime form at the moment and the continuous failure of Rogers may help him earn the national call once again.

Rogers was a success in the return Ashes in Australia, smashing two tons and as many half-centuries as Australia registered a compelling win. Since then, Rogers’ career graph has been on a downfall; he has not been able to make it big in his last eight Test innings. The 43 against Pakistan in Dubai in October remains his highest score. He has not reached the three-figure mark since February.

Rogers has flopped in both the innings Adelaide Oval. He scored nine in the first innings; the way he got out in the second was surprising. Rogers is known for watertight technique and grinding down the opposition with immense patience, but on Day Four, he went for a mighty heave against Karn Sharma and was caught by the fielder at short-midwicket. He was probably looking to break the shackles and score a couple of quick runs to get back his mojo. It did not work.

Australia are going through an interesting phase. They don’t seem to be looking for a traditional No. 3. Their experiments for the role (Alex Doolan, for example). In a desperate move, they even tried Glenn Maxwell against Pakistan, but it backfired. In the ongoing series against India, Australia did not go for any specialist batsman but played Shane Watson at that coveted spot,  clearly sending out the message that they may have deserted the idea of having a specialist No. 3 altogether and would opt for someone who can score runs and also give them other options such as chipping in with the ball. Watson has done well at No. 3 in the 2013-14 Ashes.

This move of Australia hints that for them it is more important to have the batsmen who are scoring runs on a consistent basis. But there remain worries at the top: despite David Warner scoring truckloads of runs as an opener, the selectors are yet to find a consistent partner for him.

Cowan had flopped miserably in India in 2013 and also in England, where he got only in the first Test at Trent Bridge. Australia had to make the change and in came Rogers, who ended the series as a fifth highest run-getter with 367 runs in five Tests with a hundred and two fifties. Rogers has remained a critical part in the Australian setup since then, but his age and inconsistent run never promised Australia the stability they were looking for — something which was acknowledged by the 37-year-old as well.

Rogers has scored 429 runs at an average just above 30 in 2014. The numbers do not give him a lot of backing when compared to the figures of Cowan in the Sheffield Shield. Australia will be playing Test cricket only after the World Cup, and with three more games to go against India, they might mull over bringing in an in-form batsman scoring heavily in domestic circuit rather than backing a struggling batsman.

Cowan was among the flops against India in 2013, managing only 265 in four Tests. However,  keeping the current form in mind, he would certainly be itching to get another opportunity in the national side and settle scores with the Indians.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)