Australian Test opener Ed Cowan says he has new incentive to score runs for his country after being snubbed from Cricket Australia's list of centrally contracted players for 2012/13.
Cowan, who has played every Test for Australia since making his debut against India on Boxing Day 2011, said he was not surprised to miss out on a CA contract despite being a fixture at the top of the order. With an average of 29.83 in 12 innings, the new-ball specialist conceded he needed some big scores before he could feel secure in the baggy green.
"I wasn't really shocked," Cowan said after missing out on the reduced 17-man list.
"You tend to do the sums in your head and realise that you are going to be somewhere between 16 and 20 on the list, so I wasn't shocked but naturally I was disappointed.
"I have had a great opportunity to cement that spot at the top of the order and I probably haven't scored the runs that I should have.
"The whole conversation could have been ended pretty quickly with a couple of hundreds in the last seven Tests.
"Earning my way back onto the contract list is a really great incentive to keep the fire burning in the belly."
Cowan, with three Test fifties but no centuries, is far from bitter at his admission and is driven to work his way into Cricket Australia's top 17.
The 30-year-old believes his combination with the cavalier David Warner at the top of the order, where he plays the rock to Warner's rock-star, is vital to balancing the team and ensuring his continued selection.
"The communication (with Cricket Australia) has been really positive; they are happy with the role I am playing but like me, they just want more runs," he said.