Melbourne: Ed Cowan, who on Wednesday won a place in Australia's squad for the opening Test against India, says his mentor and celebrated cricket writer Peter Roebuck's death was a trigger for him to start scoring runs, leading to his breaking into the national team.
Cowan, who scored a century for Cricket Australia Chairman's XI side against India in the warm-up game, was coached by Roebuck at Sydney's Cranbrook School.
Roebuck, who died under mysterious circumstances in Cape Town while covering Australia-South Africa Test series last month, was Cowan's mentor for many years.
"I assumed he was sick, or put myself into a state where it wasn't the worst case scenario, and then I came off at lunch and heard the news. It was then a tough couple of hours in the field to say the least," Cowan said.
"I felt like I was playing pretty well at the start of the season without results and really needed to keep the faith that the results would come if I keep preparing well.
"Sometimes it is a trigger event, just that moment of inspiration that can lift you from hitting the ball well and getting starts to really kicking on, and I guess the passing of Peter probably did that. I've certainly thought about that as well," Cowan was quoted as saying by a website.
"That week I was really heavily focused on performing well, not that you are any other way, but it was an added incentive as a 'thank you' I guess, for his kindness towards me over all the years. That did kick things off, the day he passed away was the day I got 91 not out in Burnie and really kick-started my season," he said.
Interestingly, Cowan started scoring runs this summer since the day Roebuck died.
Cowan was about to go out to bat for Tasmania against South Australia in a domestic limited overs fixture in Burnie when he received a couple of text messages, hinting at bad news about Roebuck.
But he choose not to pursue the matter and walked into the middle and hit an unbeaten 91 to help the Tigers make a total they would defend.
After he returned to the dressing room, news of Roebuck's death had reached, but Cowan took the field for SA's chase. Since that day, he has been scoring runs heavily.
"It may be an experience thing, but I have learned that when you do start scoring runs it is such a habit that it is important to make sure that habit sticks for more than just one innings," insisted Cowan.
"That's the difference between good players and really good players, consistency. Everyone can have their day out, but to try to make yourself that kind of run machine that can churn them out when you are in good form is a really important attribute.
"I'm a big believer, not just in Test cricket but at any level of cricket, in picking guys when they're in form, because confidence in cricket can be hard to come by, but once you have it, it is such a valuable commodity. So it is so important to let guys play when they are playing well.
"I'm in that fortunate position, so in terms of the bat and ball contest come Boxing Day, if I play, I feel really confident that I can contribute," he added.