England news April 27, 2012

Compton in England Lions squad

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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.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • riverlime on April 28, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Dernbach is not a Test cricketer. He will be found out in the longer game. Buttler is a better bet.

  • on April 28, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    @Robster1 - Compton has been in England since his teens, the only time he's played first class cricket outside of England was in Zimbabwe in 2010. He was on Middlesex's books when he was about seventeen, and we all know his father and grandfather are/were English, so I see no problem with him playing for England. Meaker and Dernbach arrived in England at the ages of twelve and fourteen respectively, and again have never played first class cricket outside of England, or represented any country other than England. Dernbach didn't really play cricket until he moved to England and has gone on record as saying he owes South Africa nothing. Regardless of their place of birth, all three are products of English cricket, and your claim that they all learned their cricket in South Africa is flat-out wrong.

  • JG2704 on April 28, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (April 28 2012, 08:42 AM GMT) We'll have to see how Nick does to begin with. But with all things being equal and presuming we're sticking to the 6 man batting line up I'd say the only 4 who should be guarateed a spot are Strauss, Cook , Trott and KP.The rest - eg Bell , Bopara , Patel , Compton , Taylor , Bairstow etc should all be considered for the remaining 2 spots. I don't see how Bell's bad form can keep on being ignored. Even at county level where he is batting in a form side who are scoring big Bell is failing. I'd probably say Ravi (who scored a big 100 for Essex the other day and who has not done much wrong since undeservedly (IMO) being recalled to Eng) definitely deserves a run although Patel offers them another spin option presuming they will go with 3 pacemen and Swann.

  • CricketingStargazer on April 28, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    the pressure to play him in the easier of the two series of the summer *would be intense*... It is a great opportunity to try someone new before the Table of the Table clash and have him bedded in.

  • CricketingStargazer on April 28, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    I just wonder if Nick Compton is fighting Ravi Bopara for the last batting place in the side. You can argue that he could slot in as an opener, or at 3 or 4 and everyone else would just slip down one slot, so the vacancy at 6 would just disappear. If he were to score big for the Lions, the pressure to play him in the easier of the two series of the summer (but beware that the Windies have pushed India, Pakistan and Australia hard over the last year - don't underestimate them) and see if he beds in before the South Africa series with flatter pitches, but a more hostile attack. We know what Ravi can do and he is attractive because he can bat and he is at least as good a bowler are Graham Gooch was, but his temperment is still suspect at top level. Nick Compton has the potential to score many more runs than Ravi, if he can produce it at the top level.

  • bobmartin on April 28, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    One notable absentee... Buttler

  • Robster1 on April 28, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    But Compton of course leant almost all his cricket in the country of his birth, South Africa + Meaker and Dernbach too. England now truly an SA 'B" team. How dispiriting....

  • on April 27, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    Grandson of the legendary Denis Compton.Good to see him living up to the expectations.Wish him all the best and hope he can prove himself as a quality Test player.

  • JG2704 on April 27, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster on (April 27 2012, 19:15 PM GMT) I suppose you should go by form and Nicko has delivered more than James in the last year or so. As a guy who goes to the ground rather than an armchair fan like myself you may be better qualified to comment. Probably like yourself , I have mixed feelings about Nick getting in the Eng side as it means Somerset are a key player down

  • SDHM on April 27, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Islahuddin - he's not had a good start to the season, and he's not particularly close to the full side at the moment. They probably want to have a look at batsmen like Patel and Bairstow, who are likely inclusions in the limited overs series, which might explain Ali's absence. Form doesn't cover all of it though, otherwise Taylor wouldn't be in there- he's having a really rotten time of it at the moment! As a Somerset fan it's great to see Compton in with a chance (although I still think Hildreth should be in there - I'm beginning to sound like a broken record!) and I feel he's closer to the Test team than Bairstow or Taylor at this moment. Thomas - agree about Dernbach. I still don't really rate him as anything other than a T20 bowler - I'd reckon Brooks and Meaker have just about nudged their way ahead of him in the queue for the Test team, which is beginning to get pretty long in regards to seam bowlers!

  • PunchDrunkPunter on April 27, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Dernbach was the Lions best bowler last Winter in the FC competition in the West Indies. Compton, Taylor and Carberry are 1 good innings away from putting huge pressure on Bell, Bopara and Strauss. Only major problem I have is no Steven Davies and no Danny Briggs. But Bairstow and Kerrigan are excellent talents as well. Shows England's strength that they can leave out back-ups like Bopara, Morgan, Onions, Tremlett, Panesar, Finn, Woakes, Davies, Briggs and Kieswetter and still put out a strong reserve side.

  • Trickstar on April 27, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Pretty much as expected, Chpora would have been there if it wasn't for Warcs keeping him back to play of for them in the Championship, a few of the Counties did it last year for the same reasons. No point picking some of the familiar names like Onions & Ravi because we know what they can do. Shame the likes of Woakes & Harris are injured at the moment because it would have been a very good bowling line up to put up against the WI, I still think it will be a huge test for them when they arrive. Brooks is looking a very good bowler the last couple of seasons, started County Cricket late but he's much improved. Young Coles has really put his hand up as well, really handy batsman and good 1st change seam bowler, very good prospect. Really interested to see who puts his hand up and performs and who doesn't.

  • on April 27, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    why Moeen Ali is not in he has done well in SL and was top RUN getter in ODIs and his spin option is there also

  • on April 27, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Interesting squad. Slightly disappointed with the exclusion of Chopra. England persisting with Dernbach despite him showing very little first-class form. Squad shows good strength in depth.

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  • on April 27, 2012, 15:54 GMT

    Interesting squad. Slightly disappointed with the exclusion of Chopra. England persisting with Dernbach despite him showing very little first-class form. Squad shows good strength in depth.

  • on April 27, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    why Moeen Ali is not in he has done well in SL and was top RUN getter in ODIs and his spin option is there also

  • Trickstar on April 27, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    Pretty much as expected, Chpora would have been there if it wasn't for Warcs keeping him back to play of for them in the Championship, a few of the Counties did it last year for the same reasons. No point picking some of the familiar names like Onions & Ravi because we know what they can do. Shame the likes of Woakes & Harris are injured at the moment because it would have been a very good bowling line up to put up against the WI, I still think it will be a huge test for them when they arrive. Brooks is looking a very good bowler the last couple of seasons, started County Cricket late but he's much improved. Young Coles has really put his hand up as well, really handy batsman and good 1st change seam bowler, very good prospect. Really interested to see who puts his hand up and performs and who doesn't.

  • PunchDrunkPunter on April 27, 2012, 18:19 GMT

    Dernbach was the Lions best bowler last Winter in the FC competition in the West Indies. Compton, Taylor and Carberry are 1 good innings away from putting huge pressure on Bell, Bopara and Strauss. Only major problem I have is no Steven Davies and no Danny Briggs. But Bairstow and Kerrigan are excellent talents as well. Shows England's strength that they can leave out back-ups like Bopara, Morgan, Onions, Tremlett, Panesar, Finn, Woakes, Davies, Briggs and Kieswetter and still put out a strong reserve side.

  • SDHM on April 27, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Islahuddin - he's not had a good start to the season, and he's not particularly close to the full side at the moment. They probably want to have a look at batsmen like Patel and Bairstow, who are likely inclusions in the limited overs series, which might explain Ali's absence. Form doesn't cover all of it though, otherwise Taylor wouldn't be in there- he's having a really rotten time of it at the moment! As a Somerset fan it's great to see Compton in with a chance (although I still think Hildreth should be in there - I'm beginning to sound like a broken record!) and I feel he's closer to the Test team than Bairstow or Taylor at this moment. Thomas - agree about Dernbach. I still don't really rate him as anything other than a T20 bowler - I'd reckon Brooks and Meaker have just about nudged their way ahead of him in the queue for the Test team, which is beginning to get pretty long in regards to seam bowlers!

  • JG2704 on April 27, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    @TheHoneymonster on (April 27 2012, 19:15 PM GMT) I suppose you should go by form and Nicko has delivered more than James in the last year or so. As a guy who goes to the ground rather than an armchair fan like myself you may be better qualified to comment. Probably like yourself , I have mixed feelings about Nick getting in the Eng side as it means Somerset are a key player down

  • on April 27, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    Grandson of the legendary Denis Compton.Good to see him living up to the expectations.Wish him all the best and hope he can prove himself as a quality Test player.

  • Robster1 on April 28, 2012, 1:22 GMT

    But Compton of course leant almost all his cricket in the country of his birth, South Africa + Meaker and Dernbach too. England now truly an SA 'B" team. How dispiriting....

  • bobmartin on April 28, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    One notable absentee... Buttler

  • CricketingStargazer on April 28, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    I just wonder if Nick Compton is fighting Ravi Bopara for the last batting place in the side. You can argue that he could slot in as an opener, or at 3 or 4 and everyone else would just slip down one slot, so the vacancy at 6 would just disappear. If he were to score big for the Lions, the pressure to play him in the easier of the two series of the summer (but beware that the Windies have pushed India, Pakistan and Australia hard over the last year - don't underestimate them) and see if he beds in before the South Africa series with flatter pitches, but a more hostile attack. We know what Ravi can do and he is attractive because he can bat and he is at least as good a bowler are Graham Gooch was, but his temperment is still suspect at top level. Nick Compton has the potential to score many more runs than Ravi, if he can produce it at the top level.