Mark Cosgrove is a big man with an even larger reputation. Darren Lehmann wants his left-handed protege to be part of Australia's 2007 World Cup squad.Updated: Oct 23, 2006 16:29 IST
Mark Cosgrove is a big man with an even larger reputation. Darren Lehmann wants his left-handed protégé to be part of Australia's 2007 World Cup squad and Cosgrove made a smooth transition to the international side after a bumpy rise that centred as much around his weight as his heavy hitting.
Cosgrove may be out of place in modern-day gym culture as he tries to stay below three figures, but he has shown contemporary cricket can still cater for all shapes.
Barely stopping for breath, Cosgrove, nicknamed "Baby Boof" after Lehmann for his dumpiness and free-spirited strokeplay, gained 736 runs at 66.90 in the Pura Cup and another 591 at 73.87 in the ING Cup - 178 more than Lehmann.
Cosgrove soon added to his bulky profile with one-day international selection and registered the third-highest score by an Australian in an impressive debut against Bangladesh. Opening with Simon Katich, Cosgrove, who was only 21, easily outscored his partner as he posted 74 from 69 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
Strong driving was a feature of the innings and he regularly moved his feet to attack the spinners. He is better known for his punishment of anything outside off stump from the fast men, particularly off the front foot. Not that his back-foot play is shabby - he once lofted Andy Bichel into a Chappell Stand during a Pura Cup match at Adelaide with an unbelievable square drive.
Weight and fitness were mentioned as issues. Despite his physique, Cosgrove has always been ahead of his time, making his A-grade debut for Northern Districts at 14 on the way to representing Australia Under-19 and the Academy. A first-class welcome arrived at 18 - even then many considered the wait too long - and the only threat appeared to be a set of scales. After his superb displays since his suspension, Cosgrove's headline-attracting waistline can now be ignored. And maybe even celebrated.