Ed Cowan (OC 2000), Australian Cricketer

Ed Cowan (OC 2000).
Ed Cowan (OC 2000).

Following Australian cricketer Ed Cowan’s retirement in March 2018, Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones described the left-handed opening batsman as “a great example of what hard work, self-belief and an ongoing desire to learn can achieve”.1 One of the leading domestic players in the country, the 35-year-old retired from professional cricket with 10,097 first-class runs and 25 centuries under his belt from 143 matches over 14 years.2

Ed’s pursuit of excellence on the cricket pitch began at Cranbrook, where he rose before dawn to attend 6am sessions with school coach Peter Roebuck.3 “He taught me the value of hard work, integrity and honesty”, Ed reflects, “and a lot of life skills that you learn though sport, but he certainly quickened my education”.4 The hard work paid off and, at just 14 years of age, Ed played in Cranbrook's 1st XI, scoring 218 not out, and promptly advanced to the under-17s New South Wales championships.

In his final year of school, in 2000, Ed was selected to tour Sri Lanka as a member of the Australian under-19s side. At the same time, as a Senior Prefect, he successfully juggled his leadership commitments and other studies, earning the Julian Moore Prize for rugby goal kicking, the Sir John Harvey Prize for economics and the Caltex Prize for best all-rounder.5

Following his schooling, Ed played for the University of Sydney and then, from 2005, for New South Wales.6 In 2009 he boosted his career by joining the Tasmanian Tigers, with whom he played every Sheffield Shield match in his first season, earning second place on the competition tally with 957 runs at 53.16.7 Ed made his test cricket debut for Australia two years later in the 2011 Boxing Day Test against India. He played all four tests of the series and helped Australia to win 4-0 by scoring 206 runs at an average of 34.33.8

In the same year, he published his diary of the 2010/2011 Sheffield Shield season, In the Firing Line.9 Then, on 12 November 2012, the batsman achieved his maiden test century.10 Scored a year to the day after the death of Peter Roebuck, Ed dedicated it to his former Cranbrook coach and mentor.11

Ed’s decision to leave professional cricket was made in the best interests of the team; feeling that his contributions were strong, but not “match winning”, he decided to make room for the up-and-coming “seriously talented young batsmen [who] have been fighting for a spot”.12 Ed now has the opportunity to spend more time with his wife Virginia and daughter Romy. Having completed a Masters in Applied Finance during his time with the Tigers and having launched the online recyclable coffee capsule company, Tripod Coffee, with his old Tasmanian opening partner Steve Cazzulino in October 2014, he has returned to the business world.13

His advice to young sportsmen is to always “have that outlet, that release of something else to focus on” when times are tough and to turn to in later years.14 Now the game will provide Ed with an outlet from his new career in finance, as he applies the values of “hard work, integrity and honesty” to a new arena.