England news

Compton in England Lions squad

George Dobell

April 27, 2012

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Nick Compton guided Somerset's second innings, Warwickshire v Somerset, County Championship, Division One, Edgbaston, April 13, 2012
Nick Compton returns to the England set-up as a result of his prolific form for Somerset © Getty Images
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Nick Compton has been rewarded for his prolific start to the season with a recall to the Lions side. Compton has not been involved in the England set-up since early 2007 but, after 685 first-class runs and three centuries in the first few weeks of the 2012 season, he has forced his way back into contention.

While Compton might not be the most eye-catching batsman on the county circuit, he has a sound defensive technique, leaves the ball well and has the patience to play long innings. Such qualities are not common among developing top-order batsmen and have provided Compton, who is 29 in June, with a chance to follow his grandfather Denis into the England Test team.

Compton is one of a 12-man squad named to face West Indies in a four-day fixture at Northampton commencing Thursday May 10. The squad will be captained by James Taylor, 22, who moved to Nottinghamshire from Leicestershire over the winter, and also includes Samit Patel and nine of the squad that toured Bangladesh or Sri Lanka with England Lions over the winter.

The only player in the squad uncapped at Lions level is Kent allrounder Matt Coles, who spent the winter on the Potential England Performance Programme in Loughborough and Chennai before being added to the Lions squad for the final stages of their Sri Lanka tour. With 21 first-class wickets already, Coles is currently the second-highest wicket-taker in the 2012 first-class season. He also recently made his maiden first-class century, an unbeaten 103 against Yorkshire.

There is also a recall for Michael Carberry. At 31 years of age, Carberry is relatively old by comparison with recent Lions selections. Back to health and fitness following a blood clot on his lung, he is still seen as a viable alternative for an opening position should injury strike Andrew Strauss or Alastair Cook and could yet add to the odd Test cap he earned in March 2010.

Northamptonshire's Jack Brooks, 27, is also included in a squad that marks an attempt from the selectors to balance a desire to see the best young players with a view to long-term selection, with a need to ensure there are suitable replacements available should injury strike in the shorter term.

England Lions squad

  • James Taylor (Nottinghamshire) (capt); Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire); Jack Brooks (Northamptonshire); Michael Carberry (Hampshire); Matt Coles (Kent); Nick Compton (Somerset); Jade Dernbach (Surrey); Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire); Stuart Meaker (Surrey); Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire); Joe Root (Yorkshire); Ben Stokes (Durham)

The absence of Graeme Onions and Ravi Bopara from the squad, both of whom have been in fine early season form, is a firm indication that the pair are in contention for a place in the 13-man Test squad to take on West Indies on May 17.

There is also no place in the Lions squad for Steven Davies - Jonny Bairstow will keep wicket - Varun Chopra or Luke Wells, with Joe Root winning the top-order selection battle.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "Many of the players included in this squad have worked hard on our overseas tours and training camps over the winter or have shown good early season form. West Indies will no doubt be challenging opposition and this fixture will present an opportunity for players to show that they are capable of taking the next step and representing England at Test level in the future."

While the absence of Chopra may fuel suggestions that Ashely Giles, the England selector and Warwickshire director of cricket, has used his influence to ensure his county side are not weakened, it is worth noting that Warwickshire do not have a game during the Lions fixture.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Matty_Clark on (April 30, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

Meaker is definitely not short of test class, especially when the names of players such as Will Gidman are being bandied around instead - the former can bowl in excess of 90mph and is devastating when he gets it right, the latter is consistent, yes, but as with many others, his lack of pace would make it very difficult for him to succeed at test level unless he suddenly develops McGrath-like guile. Meaker is in the mould of a Brett Lee; still slightly inconsistent and raw, but as with Lee capable of being very effective if he can develop slightly more consistency. The point is that Test potential is there!

Posted by   on (April 30, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Ages to go compton represent the family of cricket player. Just similar to the pollack family of south africa

Posted by JG2704 on (April 29, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

@CS - PS - again I'm not a huge Bopara fan - but if you look at the 100 he scored recently and look at the Essex scorecard , he totally carried that inns. I'd say the best IB is better than the best RB but it is nowhere near the best IB we are seeing at the moment

Posted by JG2704 on (April 29, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

@CS/Honeymonster - not 100% convinced by Bopara either . And I agree that scoring runs in lg 2 is tougher than in lg 1. However , for me the fact is that they (controversially) picked Ravi when he wasn't in great form and since he was recalled has done little wrong - he certainly did better than Bell in the warm up matches and ODI/T20s (and I know theyre different formats).It just seems really strange to pick an out of form player but then once picked and he does well they have no faith in him.I suppose the injury might have had much to do with him not playing in SL but the point I'm making is that has Bell not had enough inns to get back into nick?Surely there is only so long you can carry a player like that no matter what he achieved in the past. I still think 5 bowlers is our best option but in England I feel better about going for 4. My grievance is that we never tried that formula to stop the rot but I still can't ignore Bell's ongoing bad form.We don't want any passengers vs SA

Posted by JG2704 on (April 29, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Robster1 on (April 28 2012, 01:22 AM GMT) The 3 players you have just mentioned have played none of their 1st class career in SA unless you consider schools cricket as the defining period.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (April 28, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

@Robster1, anyone who is bothered by SA-born players in the England squad should not be concerned by Compton. Given that he's the grandson of an England great, I think that we can happily assume that his cricketing ability is genetic and of English origin. It's purely hypothetical of course but let's say that Don Bradman had moved away from Australia with his children, one of those children had a son and that son moved back to Australia. Can you imagine any Australian having an issue with calling that grandson Australian or accepting that his cricketing skill wasn't of Australian origin? That's why, although I don't consider it ideal, I don't have an issue with most of these players: they have English heritage and/or they came to England as children. As for Dernbach, he didn't play cricket until he came to England at 14. He was a Rugby player in SA.

Posted by SDHM on (April 28, 2012, 12:25 GMT)

JG and CricketingStargazer - This summer is Ravi's last chance I'd think. If he struggles again and someone like Compton or Taylor has a good summer, I think they'll be on the tour to India over him. It's exactly the sort of pressure he failed to cope with last year - remember the Lions game against Sri Lanka? He needs to show mental steel more than anything; a gutsy 60 on a lively pitch against the South African attack would convince me more than 100 against the Windies that he could finally crack it. For me, the fact that Bairstow is also keeping wicket tells me something - he's being told to keep working on his keeping as he's unlikely to get into the Test side as a batsman alone for a while yet. Good move for me; he's a better long term bet for the longer format than Buttler, who has to perform more consistently in the Championship to start making a claim.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (April 28, 2012, 11:24 GMT)

bobmartin, Butler's time will come. There are so much batting talent out there that someone is going to be unlucky. The only answer is to get a lot of runs, like Nick Compton and smash the door down. In contrast, in the bowling, names like Dernbach and Meaker keep getting re-cycled when they are far short of Test class despite the fact that there are young players like Reece Topley, Will Gidman and host more who are genuinely exciting prospects and could reach the top.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (April 28, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

JG, the Ravi conundrum. We've had it every summer for years. This though is definitely his last chance. He did get an excellent century the other day and got the appropriate credit for it (another question is how much more CC1 runs are worth than CC2 where the attacks are much friendlier after the new ball has been seen off), but he needs consistent runs before one of the pack behind him takes his place as perennial reserve. Collingwood waited for years and finally became an integral part of the side, despite great scepticism: can Ravi? He was unlucky to miss out in Sri Lanka due to injury and, sooner or later, we have to give him a run or pass on. Now, the question is: will whoever plays at 6 last the series v South Africa and go to India too? Whoever goes in has to go in thinking of multiple series. Long-term, who will get most runs? I suspect Compton would over Bopara. Patel is not good enough to bat at 6, nor to take regular wickets.

Posted by bobmartin on (April 28, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Posted by Robster1 on (April 28 2012, 01:22 AM GMT) "But Compton of course leant almost all his cricket in the country of his birth, South Africa" Not quite the whole truth since he came to England in his teens and was educated and went to uni in England...Oh yes.. his father is English.. and last but not least.. he's qualified.

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