County news July 30, 2013

Compton exit would prompt Taunton transition


Nick Compton could be leaving Somerset after it emerged he was out of contract at the club and of interest to several other counties.

Compton may have been discarded by England but remains a prolific scorer at county level. While budgets across the county game are tight, it is anticipated that Surrey, Middlesex and Warwickshire would be among those keen to talk to 30-year-old Compton if contract negotiations with Somerset stall. The club remain keen to retain him, but Surrey's lure often proves persuasive.

A move back to London is understood to appeal for personal reasons but Compton's career has flourished since he joined Somerset ahead of the 2010 season. He has averaged 60.55 for the club in first-class cricket. He previously averaged 34.14 in his six seasons of first-class cricket with Middlesex.

Compton's departure could be part of a transition at the club. Gemaal Hussain, the 29-year-old seamer who was signed amid much competition and at great expense from Gloucestershire three years ago, has endured a modest stay and is unlikely to win a new deal.

Hussain, who claimed 67 first-class wickets at an average of 22.34 for Gloucestershire when armed with a Tiflex ball and on seam-friendly pitches in 2010, has taken only 42 first-class wickets in three seasons at Somerset at an average of 41.92.

Somerset may also seek to appoint a new captain, at least in one form of the game, in the coming months. While Marcus Trescothick has a job, be it in a coaching or ambassadorial role, for life at Somerset, the club are keen to ease the burden on his body after two decades of professional cricket and see a new captain in the job while Trescothick is still on-hand to provide on-field assistance as required. Craig Kieswetter is by far the most likely replacement.

That could have implications for Jos Buttler who is also out of contract. He remains strongly emotionally connected to the club that he and his family have supported all his life, his career development may be hindered if he is unable to keep wicket more often. Should he decide to leave, he has no shortage of willing employers among the other counties.

One man who will not be departing is Dave Nosworthy. The Somerset director of cricket has, perhaps due to unrealistic expectations, endured a tough start to his career at Taunton since replacing Brian Rose at the start of the year but will be given every chance to turn things around in 2014. The club have a gifted bunch of young players and have taken the view that, even if it takes a season or two of Division Two cricket, Nosworthy remains the man to take the team into the future.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on July 31, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    @salazar555 - Difficult to say re Craig being harshly treated. He was in horrible form at the time he was dropped although there have been others who have been in as horrible form with bat or ball in whatever format who have been persevered with. I think the question is , does Jos seriously want to keep wicket or does he want to keep wicket because he is under the impression that it's his best chance of playing for England? Keeping wicket may be the best way of staying in the Eng side but I believe if his batting dipped he'd be out whatever. I could even see a scenario whereby Jos moves and then Craig usurps him in the Eng role. Whatever , Craig is talented enough to get back into the Eng set up and if I was in his shoes I'd want to keep in every game for Somerset.

  • Peter on July 31, 2013, 16:20 GMT

    I think Kieswetter has been harshly treated by England. He's the leading scorer in 20/20 this year, his glove work is good and he can't seem to get a chance.

    Jos doesn't deserve the England Wicket keeper job, he needs to go to another county and prove that he deserves his spot, not just be handed it because he's played the last few games. He only comes off 1 in 5 times with the bat and he has done nothing to show me that he deserves the job ahead of Kieswetter

  • John on July 31, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    @Basingrad - Good post there. I think there would be plenty of counties interested in Jos (if they have a WK who is not established or nearing the end) but I get the idea that Jos has it in his head that the best way to get into the Eng side is to keep wicket.I genuinely think if Jos's batting remained at the same level then his WK would be secondary but if his glovework improved by regular WK and his batting declined then Eng would ditch him.So I think it's a huge gamble to leave your home county for regular WK duties elsewhere when things are going pretty well for Jos at Taunton. Regardless of his WK skills , if Jos wants to play in tests for Eng he'll have to improve his CC batting stats considerably and no amount of WKing will help him with his CC batting and is he as likely to improve his CC batting elsewhere?

    Re Nick , I feel he will struggle to get back into the Eng set up unless his form is significantly better than his rivals - wherever he plays

  • John on July 31, 2013, 11:03 GMT

    @bobmartin ctd Personally I think Jos should be groomed for the KP role in the shorter formats - coming in earlier and playing himself in rather than being encouraged to slog from ball 1. If he does that successfully , then maybe start talking about his game being good enough for the test arena but while he is just coming in and trying to bash from ball 1 (for Eng) I can't see how anyone can even think of him as being a test player. Morgan (for England) has been better at playing himself in etc even if his form has been patchy and he failed in the test arena. I'd say right now that Craig would be the better choice for longer fmts anyway So the bottom line for me is that keeping wicket regularly or not will likely not impact on his Eng career as much as much as people make out

  • John on July 31, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    @bobmartin on -Re Eng , I genuinely think it's how Jos performs (more with bat) that matters than whether he keeps for his county or not. If his form dips considerably then Eng will drop him whether or not he keep regularly or once in a blue moon. I mean he was only keeping occasionally at the time he took the gloves for Eng and Craig was keeping regularly and did little wrong behind the stumps. So surely if Jos's shorter fmts form dips he'd be outed regardless of whether he keeps or not. And surely Bairstow is the natural successor to Prior. For Jos to become the heir , surely needs a massive increase in form (batting) from Jos and dip from Jonny.

  • Graham on July 31, 2013, 11:00 GMT

    If Compo leaves it will be because he wants to be back in London for personal reasons and/or because Somerset have been relegated. It won't be about money. Buttler is caught in a horrible dilemma. The jury is out whether he should be a keeper long term or just a batsman. Kieswetter is the better keeper and batsman at the moment, so Somerset will, rightly, stick to their guns that he is their keeper-batsman going forward. Jos needs to decide if he wants to be a keeper. It might be getting him in the England short form sides at the moment but does he want ideally to be in as a batsman? Also, how many Div 1 sides need a substandard keeper (who has a touch of genius with the bat) at the moment? Middlesex would take him, possibly Sussex and maybe Yorks. Ambrose, Read, Davies and Mustard are going nowhere and Derbys will go down. Coming up, maybe Lancs, as Cross isn't much of a batsman? Would Northants shut out Duckett, who they rate very highly? My money would be on Middlesex...

  • John on July 31, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Not going to criticise Somerset on this one until I hear the full facts.Nick is not under contract but does not say if one has been offered/discussed. As already pointed out Nick's game has developed immensely at Somerset and one of the clubs which is interested in him is was the one which let him go before he joined Somerset. As for Jos - I'd hate him to leave but we all must realise that all parties were happy with the way things were until Eng put a spanner in the works by dropping Craig , giving Jos the gloves and then filling Jos's head with ideas that he needs to keep regularly and that he may take over from Prior and surely the other JB is groomed for the latter job. IMO Jos would have to improve hugely if he would be considered for taking over from Matt and that provided Jos's form continues he'll remain the Eng WK in shorter fmts and by the same token if his form goes down then whether he keeps at county level or not will have little impact on Eng keeping faith.

  • Adrian on July 31, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    The article doesn't say Somerset want to let him goes and it doesn't really say Comp wants to leave, so lets not jump up and down about what may or may not be happening eh? I doubt they want to let Compo go, like they won't want to let Buttler go. Players contracts run out, players who have been playing well and have recent international experience are going to have interest from other teams when that happens. Doesn't mean they have even a sniff of getting him though unless contract talks go badly or there is a particular desire from either party for a change.

    Nothing here suggests contractual talks are going badly or that either party wants rid of the other...

    George is just doing his job and reporting on stuff!

  • Bob on July 31, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    It's all down to money and ambition. If Somerset can't afford to pay Compton what he wants, then like any other employee, he will simply seek his fortune elsewhere.. As for Buttler, that's a far more complicated story. If he is happy being second choice keeper, he will stay.. However, he knows that without regular keeping his England ODI place is in jeopardy...and if his ambition is to keep that and who knows, maybe even to be Prior's replacement whenever that occurs.. he has no option but to seek opportunties elsewhere..As the old saying this space..

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    More politics and cloak and dagger behind the scenes at Somerset which can be damaging to any side, we have gone to T20 QFs and sitting comforably at top of YB40 group table, i think we hould wait unil the end of the season first to see how we are placed and any silverware we may achieve before announcing whose players are going and new skipper in place, Somerset still can have a good season, just dont make rash deciions yet nil the September. Good luck cidermen, i know you will try your best. But please keep Buttler though, a valuale player!!!

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