England news September 10, 2012

Compton hopeful of England tour spot


Somerset batsman Nick Compton hopes he has done enough to earn an England call-up for the tour of India despite an untimely back injury that has kept him sidelined just as the debate about top-order places has been sparked by the retirement of Andrew Strauss.

Compton has the chance to give the selectors a final push when he returns for the last game of the season against Worcestershire this week and is currently among a group of top three batsmen vying for a tour spot alongside Michael Carberry, Joe Root and Varun Chopra, although it is still not confirmed when the squad will be named.

Despite not playing since the England Lions game against Australia A at Old Trafford in early August, Compton remains the leading scorer in the country this season with 1339 first-class runs at 89.26 (almost 150 clear of second-placed James Hildreth). During a prolific start to the season, he came within touching distance to making 1000 runs before the end of May only to be thwarted by rain.

While Carberry, Root and Chopra have continued to catch the eye with Championship and one-day runs, Compton has been forced to bide his time after suffering a bulging disc that flared up during the Australia A.

"You get down, of course, you want to keep pushing, have a very strong finish to the season and make it impossible for them not to pick me," he told ESPNcricinfo. "I still hope my averages and the scores I've had over the last two seasons will go in my favour and they'll see me as a strong contender. But, as they say, timing is everything and the timing of the injury wasn't ideal. It's never a good time, but coinciding with Strauss retiring means I was even more eager to get back to full fitness."

"I've never had a back injury before and it's not serious, just combination of stiffness and tightness then you get a bit of nerve pain," he added. "With all the cricket we play, plus all the driving around in coaches, you aren't really getting a proper chance to get rid of things like that and it's a reminder to stay on top of things as much as you can."

Compton's chances of getting on the plane to India probably hinge on whether the selectors want to blood youth or opt for an experienced county cricketer. One factor possibly in Compton's favour is that if Jonny Bairstow and James Taylor both tour, after making Test debuts this season, the selectors may not want to take another young batsman like Root as well, especially if Kevin Pietersen remains absent.

Now batting at No. 3 for Somerset, Compton was an opener for much of his career for Middlesex and believes the skills for each role are transferable - although it might just be that fact that could hinder his chances if Jonathan Trott is promoted up the order for the India series.

"The top three is where you will face the best bowling so you have to have the technique for it," he said. "The similarities are there; you can be in second ball or after two hours. As a No. 3 you have to be ready like an opener even though you don't walk out straight away. It's not a case of sitting back. It can be tough but it's about being mentally ready, and for me it's been about controlling my emotions."

Compton has started to flourish in the middle stage of his career, following the move from Middlesex to Somerset in 2010. Although his run-scoring feats this season are what have caught the attention, he also averaged a very solid 56.11 in 2011 and now feels as comfortable as he ever has in his batting.

"When Jacques Kallis was playing against us earlier in the season he said he had not learnt his game fully until about 30. For me that was quite insightful," he said. "I've had ups and downs during my career and now understand my game. I'm not saying that the young players aren't ready or can't be ready, but the ones that come in and excel from ball one are few and far between.

"Alastair Cook springs to mind, Michael Clarke would be another but even they would probably say that they only understand their game fully now they are older. Some players learn their game at first-class level others evolve at Test level. I feel like my time is now and feel ready to step up."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Valavan on September 11, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    @Dheeraj Shetty, its interesting you count on India crushing Kiwis in 2 tests, probably you didnt see Windies crushing Kiwis in 2 tests, Winning against kiwis isnt a yardstick to measure the indian bowling depth. India to clean sweep the series, arent you joking, it was same predicted 2011 summers in England and 2012 in Oz, where did the paper champions go, No Dravid, No Laxman, tendulkar getting bowled very often, where does this batting line up go, Dhoni, Raina - are they test material, having so brittle batters, and you expect toomuch from India, cricinfo please publish.

  • david on September 10, 2012, 14:51 GMT

    of all the so called overseas players which critics of englands selection policy im sure there would be no argument with him as far as selection. to some older than me his grandfather was a god of english cricket and his other relations a much lesser extent. my only name to fame was a 18 yo going to my 1st test at leeds during the mid 60s was to knock him flying as he came out of his hotel and i rushed pasted him to get a bus out to headingley. i knew who he was but never saw him play. so nick may have been born in saffar land but the seed is definate english thru and tru. saying all that i would not select him.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    I personally think Carberry deserves the chance more than anyone with his prolonged consistency and the fact that he had the will to come back form serious illness. Not too mention he is an outstanding fielder. I would also like to add that if they want to go for a young opener. I personally feel that San Northeast is the most talented / complete young opener in the country. More runs and hundreds than Root this season but he doesn't seem to get a mention anywhere. After a couple of difficult seasons he has started to find his feet and he will go from strength to strength from here. Great prospect!

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @Chris Ward India don't have bowlers, I am sure you haven't watched recently concluded New Zealand series where Indian spinners crushes kiwis, we all know England play spin badly and their faster bowlers aren't much of use on Indian conditions, I would say India to sweep the series.

  • Samuel on September 10, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    @Blake - I reckon Chopra's in with a much better chance that either Carberry or Root to be honest. Carberry's had a mediocre season in Championship cricket & I feel Root's not really ready. Compton & Chopra also have the advantage of playing in the first division & scoring runs against better attacks. I get the feeling Chopra might have snuck ahead; he often scores runs either when conditions are at their toughest or when Warwickshire need someone to step up, tailor-made for Test cricket. It'd definitely be a Trescothick-like pick though, based on when he scores runs as opposed to his overall stats, which aren't eye-catching by any means. He's also a good slip catcher, something England desperately need at the moment! Nash is an interesting shout - certainly in the SC I reckon his aggressive approach would be ideal; the new ball is often the easiest time to score runs, so a player who can take advantage of that would be a nice counterpoint to Cook at the top of the order.

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Compton is born in Durban so must be a dead cert for England!

  • Nicholas on September 10, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    How about Chris Nash and Brendan Nash !!

  • Dummy4 on September 10, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    I'd go with Root - young lad with lots of potential. India don't have any bowlers so the only thing he has to worry about is the curry and the heat. I like Carbs but I think his time is passed and Compton feels more of a middle order option. Never been much impressed with Chopra, he's a bit hit and miss.

  • John on September 10, 2012, 12:56 GMT

    Assuming KP is not selected, there are two spots available. I'd choose Carberry as opener (I don't think Root, at 21, is ready yet) and my personal preference would be Hildreth as the middle order player. Taylor needs another year or two and over his career Hildreth has been a better player than Compton. However, I'm pretty sure it will be either Taylor or Compton.

  • Douglas on September 10, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    It should be Compton or no one - he has the talent, class and experience. Nuff said.

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