Axed NSW batsman Ed Cowan left out of Cricket Australia XI to play England


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ED Cowan’s cricketing absence will continue after he was left out of the Cricket Australia XI to play England because he wasn’t going to be available for both fixtures.

Cricket Australia initially offered the 35-year-old former Test opener the chance to partner fellow Sheffield Shield exile Tim Paine as the two experienced heads in the developmental squad, however in the end, emerging NSW batsman Nick Larkin was chosen instead.

It’s understood Cowan was keen and hopeful of playing the second tour match against Joe Root’s men in Townsville which is the direct tune-up for the first Test at the Gabba.

However, due to family circumstances, predetermined on the expectation he would be in Sydney at that time with the NSW side, he was unable to commit to travelling to Adelaide for the first four-day match under lights which starts next week.

Cricket Australia were unwilling to give Cowan a one-off hit in the far north, making it clear that their preference for logistical and continuity purposes was picking a squad that could play both matches, with the focus of the CA XI premise on providing opportunity.

After being controversially dumped from the Blues opening-season matches, a decision which sparked widespread debate over the purpose of the Sheffield Shield, Cowan is now unlikely to get another red-ball match under his belt until the round four match NSW plays against Victoria on November 24.

The 18-Test star has been completely blacked out of consideration for Ashes selection, despite the fact there has been widespread conjecture over the form of current Australian opener Matt Renshaw.

With a distinct lack of young opening candidates, Shaun Marsh at 34 appears to be waiting in the wings if Renshaw slips up in the opening two Tests, however, Cowan is not even classed as an option despite scoring more runs than any domestic cricketer dating back to 2014.

Cowan’s last Test match was against the English at Trent Bridge in the 2013 Ashes

Test great Chris Rogers, who is an assistant coach for the CA XI, expressed his sympathy for Cowan’s predicament when it was first announced the reigning Steve Waugh medal winner had been dumped from the NSW side for Daniel Hughes.

Like Cowan, Tasmanian wicketkeeper Tim Paine has been an unlucky victim of the Tigers having two international standard glovemen on their books.

Paine has been squeezed out of the State’s Shield side due to the arrival of Matthew Wade in the off-season, and despite being ranked an outside Test chance – he hasn’t been able to get a game.

CA XI coach Troy Cooley said Paine’s experience would be a vital injection to his young side.

“Tim Paine, as a player with international experience in all three formats of the game, will bring a lot of experience and leadership to the squad,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing how these guys handle the step-up in competition and believe they are capable of providing England with a real test ahead of the first Ashes Test.”

CA XI squad: Jake Carder, Jackson Coleman, Michael Cormack, Daniel Fallins, Ryan Gibson, Nick Larkin, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Will Pucovski, Gurinder Sandhu, Jason Sangha, Matthew Short

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