England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Chester-le-Street May 25, 2016

Compton admits he's playing for his Test future

Nick Compton has admitted he is playing for his future in the final two Tests of the Investec series against Sri Lanka.

Compton has scored 15, 26, 0, 19, 6 and 0 in his most recent six Test innings and accepts that, with a Test batting average of 30.16, he hasn't, to date, taken his "chances with two hands".

But while he concedes he wouldn't necessarily want to watch himself bat if he were a spectator, he insists he has the skills to contribute to a successful England side and will continue to play his natural game in an attempt to prove it.

"Sure, definitely," Compton says when asked if he is playing for his international future. "You've got to score runs. It all comes down to weight of runs and performance. I've just got to do it better.

"We can talk beyond that about certain things but, fundamentally, if I do my job as well as I can and score the runs I know I can, I can contribute to this England team."

Compton's skills are somewhat out of fashion. At a time when the world is becoming accustomed to men thrashing centuries in little over 40 deliveries, Compton is offering somewhat more old-world fare: he is offering to see the shine off the new ball and draw the sting from the bowlers. But while he admits his style may lack "glamour", he still feels it has value.

"The way the game's going, I think people are drawn towards a certain glamour," he said. "Some players provide that and people want to see more of that.

"That's great, we're in the entertainment business. It's about getting bums on seats and I suppose watching Ben Stokes' 200 is better than watching Compton's 80. If I'm honest with you, if I was sitting on the couch I'd rather watch Brian Lara, or my late grandfather, or Stokes. That's what people want to see. I'm by no means unaware of that.

"But when you look at it, my job is possibly a little bit tougher, it's quite an intense role. The new ball is tough when you go in there and the way that I play doesn't always look that pretty. But I feel like I have made the best of what I've been given."

In truth, Compton is an elegant player. It's just he is, by current standards, a relatively slow scorer. But for those who still take pleasure in a perfectly played forward defensive - and such folk appear to be a dying breed - there is a certain beauty in his batting. He can cut, drive and pull nicely, too, and promises that, given a chance, he will show that he has another gear to his batting.

"I don't want to change my style," he says. "When you're not playing well your style doesn't look so great. It can be really hard work. But we've an exciting team of stroke-players and it's my role to get myself in and try and shield some of those players from the new ball.

"I know deep inside me there's a player in here who could change all those opinions very quickly. I've got shots. I've got things that I can do and I've got to allow them to come out.

"But you can't force that. I've tried it before. You need to earn that right. As with any batsman who goes in against the new ball, it's always a vulnerable time.

"Unfortunately, until you do it and people see it in real life there's no point in me saying anything else. Words are cheap and until you do it consistently there's not much to be said."

Investec is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. For more on Investec private banking, visit investec.co.uk/banking

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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