Nottinghamshire’s new overseas player Ed Cowan has checked in and is raring to go.
The Australian Test left-hander made his county debut in the two-day friendly against Derbyshire and explained how his signing came about.
“Obviously Mick Newell has his finger on the pulse and was looking for an opening batsman and we communicated towards the end of last season a little bit.” said Cowan.
"I’m pretty fresh in terms of playing with or against most of these guys but they’ve been so welcoming." Ed Cowan
“We have a mutual friend in Paul McMahon, who used to play for Notts, and I think he pitched it to Mick and it came along that way. I’m excited to be here and looking forward to the next three months.”
Trent Bridge hasn’t always been the friendliest of grounds for opening batsmen, particularly in the early weeks of the season. That record doesn’t phase the 30-year old though.
“The same thing was said to me when I moved to Tasmania, to play at Bellerive. A lot of opening batsmen had their career ruined down there, so I view it as the ultimate challenge.
“Runs on those kinds of wickets tend to stand out more, so I enjoy the contest and enjoy trying to grind out runs when the conditions are tough. Hopefully, over the next three months, I can get used to the conditions and really embrace them.”
Cowan will be available for Nottinghamshire’s first seven championship fixtures, plus a handful of Yorkshire Bank 40 fixtures, before joining up with his countrymen ahead of this summer’s Ashes series.
“It’s not just Ashes preparation for me,” he confirmed. “I’m here to be a Notts cricketer, hopefully not just for this year but moving forward as well. There’s a great vibe around the club – it’s got a fantastic reputation, world-wide, as a successful club and I’m looking forward to contributing to that success.
“Obviously it is a big year for the Ashes and to play at Trent Bridge, where the First Test is going to be, is an advantage but that wasn’t the motivation behind the move.”
Cowan admits that he hasn’t come across too many of his new team-mates before. “I’ve played against Andre Adams in the past and a little bit against Samit over the years on Lions tours and the like. Alex Hales obviously has had a little bit of exposure in the Big Bash but I’m pretty fresh in terms of playing with or against most of these guys but they’ve been so welcoming – it’s been fantastic.”
The task facing Cowan – and opening partner Hales – is to try and give the Notts innings a solid start in the opening weeks and the new arrival has been quick to spend time getting to know the England man.
“My initial impression is that we are obviously very different characters but at the same time we’ve got on and it’s important that the opening partnership is a partnership - and there’s a good relationship there between us so the team can get off to a strong start.”
In order to reach the very top of his profession Cowan has had to overcome a feeling that his boarding school education and university degree might have left him a touch vulnerable for the fierce battles of international sport.
“Particularly in Australia there is the perception that you have to be a hard man to play your cricket. But I think we’ve seen over the years that in England, some people, much smarter than me, do well and have gone on to captain England and forge great careers, so there’s always two sides to a coin.
“It’s nice to know that you can break a perception if you work hard enough.”
Cowan’s next challenge is to overcome the seamer-friendly Nottingham conditions, a challenge he’s clearly up for.
Dave Bracegirdle will provide ball-by-ball commentary from all of Nottinghamshire's matches this season on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham. Follow him on twitter @BraceCricket