NEW South Wales opening batsman Ed Cowan admits he didn't take advantage of his opportunities with the Australian team.
Which is why the 33-year-old is so hungry for success this summer.
Cowan averaged 31.28 in 18 Tests for Australia before being dumped for the second Test of the 2013 Ashes series in England.
He hasn't played a five-day match since, but said he felt he still belonged at the international level.
His results in this summer's Matador One-Day Cup prove he could still be a force for the Australian team, having scored 21, 39, 100, 47, 22 and 39 for the Blues.
He also compiled 815 runs at 47.94 in the Sheffield Shield last season.
"I had my chance to nail down a spot in the team and I didn't take the opportunity with both hands," Cowan, who said he held no grudges towards selectors, told APN.
"We had just come off a tough tour of India and I was probably one of the few batsmen with my head above water from that, but we were losing matches at the time.
"It would have been nice to go out in a better way - but life goes on."
Life has certainly gone on smoothly since Cowan returned to his home city of Sydney, after making the painstaking decision to leave Tasmania - he had moved there for more opportunities in 2009.
But he now sees himself as a family man who plays cricket, rather than the opposite, and said he needed to move back to Sydney with his wife Virginia and daughter Romy, who were moving to the harbour city.
Cowan loved playing for Tasmania, the state that saw him become a Test player.
But he also needed to come back to Sydney to be closer to his family, after his mother Jan lost her brave battle with a terminal neurological disorder.
"It was absolutely the right decision (to leave Tasmania) - that call had to be made and it felt right," Cowan said.
"I had to come back home and support my family."
Back and settled in his home city, the left-hander believes he can still be a much-needed steadying influence in the Australian top order, especially after the retirement of similarly-styled patient batsman Chris Rogers.
"Chris was someone who brought experience to the team and wasn't fazed by the pressure of Test cricket," Cowan said.
"And Adam Voges is another older guy getting his chance now, so that gives me hope.
"Thirty-three is not particularly old for a batsman, and I still feel young and fit enough."
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