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Cowan backs himself to open

Ed Cowan realises his Ashes hopes depend on a strong series in India.

Ed Cowan realises his Ashes hopes depend on a strong series in India. Photo: Getty Images

ED COWAN won't be drawn into a conversation about Shane Watson's desire to open the batting but believes he has shown he can do the job against any attack.

Cowan has spent the short break since the Test summer finished working on his conditioning and refining his plans against spin bowling in preparation for a tour of India in which he hopes to remove selection doubts from the equation before the Ashes.

Asked whether he felt his position was secure after a summer that began with a century against South Africa but tapered off and finished with a handful of missed opportunities, Cowan said: ''I think I've shown enough to suggest I'm good enough. If you can score Test hundreds against South Africa you can score Test hundreds against anyone.

''It's a question of doing that consistently and for the first four-fifths of the summer that consistency was there.

''There was an opportunity to go big a couple of times which I missed, but at the same time it felt like I was improving, and the quality of batting was there but the results weren't. So when I was looking back it was probably disappointing not to really nail it but a few things happen out of your control … that you might do differently. There's no point getting too beat up about it.''

Cowan realises his Ashes hopes depend on a strong series in India, where he has been on academy and state tours. Neither he or Watson will play a Sheffield Shield game before the touring squad is chosen at the end of the month. Cowan declined to comment on Watson's public preference to open.

The vice-captain will return from a calf injury in his new role as a non-bowling batsman in grade cricket in Sydney this weekend rather than through the shield for NSW against WA, leaving the national selectors to judge his form and fitness without the benefit of a first-class game.

Cowan is not concerned about the gap in his own schedule, and believes a ''red ball camp'' in India, for which Test specialists will depart early, is sufficient preparation.

Australia's next two Test assignments will be played in contrasting conditions, and it's conceivable that different Test line-ups will be tailored accordingly, but Cowan still expects performances in India will, to a large extent, shape the Ashes squad.

''For me, the focus is very much on playing in India and how I'm going to score runs and hopefully, if things work out like I know they can, if I prepare well and play as well as I can, then I will get an opportunity in England, but that feels miles away to be honest.

''I need to get through this series really strongly, hopefully contribute really heavily with the bat, and that takes the selection issue out of it.''

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