ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 05: Ed Cowan of the Blues bats during day one of the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales at Adelaide Oval on December 5, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

Steve Smith and the Australian selectors have left themselves open to accusations of bias and could break down the foundation of Australian cricketers by ignoring on field performances of some of the most inform players in the country.

Former Australia test batsman Ed Cowan fears that the pyramid of Australian cricket which is “built on performance” could become a distant memory if selectors continue to ignore on field performances.

The 35-year-old this week was axed from the New South Wales team for the opening Sheffield shield clash with South Australia in favour of younger talents Nic Maddinson and Daniel Hughes.

But it was Australian test captain Steve Smith who played a part in the controversial axing after telling reporters that Hughes was in contention for a surprise test call up. Smith argued Hughes’ case before coach Trent Johnston, who made the decision to drop last year’s Steve Waugh medalist and leading run scorer.

Smith did convey the point to Cowan in person to which the former Test player appreciated.

“It’s a lot easier than things going on and people saying this and that — to have the Test captain say ‘he got picked because we think he can be a Test cricketer’. Cowan said on Fox Sports’ Bill and Boz  on Tuesday night.

“I don’t agree with that selection policy, but it’s the Australian Test captain, it’s his team.”

However all the pressure is on Smith and the selectors as they evidently have a preference for youth over on-field performers.

Johnston described this as one of the toughest calls he has had to make as a coach.

“We had to weigh up past form with current form, Ed has been outstanding during the Sheffield Shield over the past two seasons and has an excellent record against the pink ball” Johnston said on Monday.

“Daniel Hughes has been in terrific form during the JLT Cup, so there were lengthy discussions, Finally we decided to go with Dan in that last batting spot. It wasn’t easy.”

Smith also made mention that due to recent JLT cup form is why he was picked over Cowan.