Snappy Q&As with the players

Nick Compton

'I feel like I'm approaching my peak now'

Nick Compton talks about stepping out of his grandfather's shadow and sharing an honour with a batsman he looks up to

Interview by Jack Wilson

February 22, 2014

Comments: 31 | Text size: A | A

Nick Compton drives behind square, Nottinghamshire v Somerset, County Championship, Division One, Trent Bridge, September 26, 2013
"I have to keep putting pressure on the selectors" © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Nick Compton
Teams: England | Somerset

England are rebuilding and there are places up for grabs. What do you think your chances are of being a part of the future?
There are two sides to that. Firstly, it all depends on what the selectors, the captain and the coach are looking for. Secondly, I think my chances now are as good as anyone's. My achievements, records and runs speak for themselves. I've consistently been one of the top county performers in the last three years and all I can do is keep scoring runs and playing the way I do. I have to keep putting pressure on the selectors.

How would you assess your England career up to now?
I'm very pleased with it but I want more. I thought I made a solid start in India and showed I can make runs and bat for long periods. In New Zealand I scored hundreds but I was disappointed in the return tour over in England. At Headingley I wasn't in great form and I didn't play very well. I showed after that I have the ability to dust myself off and bounce back straight away with Somerset and I went on to have a really good season. All I can do is keep doing what I do because I know there's a lot more in me. I feel like I'm approaching my peak now.

In April 2013, you were named as one of the five Wisden cricketers of the year. How did that feel?
It was the single greatest accolade I've received in cricket. To be voted by Wisden alongside Hashim Amla, a cricketer I grew up and played lot of cricket with, who I look up to and who is arguably the best player in the world, was a real honour and a privilege.

And it's an award your grandfather Denis won, too.
Of course he won it all those years ago and I'm proud to have done the same. There's an illustrious list of names of cricketers who have won it.

Do you get bored of hearing yourself described as the grandson of Denis Compton, when you're a Test cricketer in your own right?
It used to happen all the time but not so much now. I've found my own form and my own game. People started to realise a few years ago I am my own man. I know I will always live in his shadow but it's a great shadow. He was a great sportsman with huge talent and I'm proud of what he achieved.

You have taken four wickets in county cricket. Can you name them?
Jacques Rudolph was one. Richard Montgomerie, from Sussex, was another. That was years ago! Man, this is tough, I can't think of the other two.

Which cricketer in the world would you pay to watch?
Kevin Pietersen.

Which of your team-mates would you least like to be stuck on a desert island with?
Peter Trego. He'd talk about himself the whole time. And if a scary monster came on to the island, he'd be first one hiding away up a tree.

Who is the toughest bowler to face in county cricket?
There are a few. Chris Woakes, Andre Adams - but I'll go with Graham Onions.

Who would win a Somerset 100-metre race?
I would win it. I'm definitely the best runner between the wickets in the team. Apparently the boys reckon I run a few people out but they are wrong.

And who would come last?
[Marcus] Trescothick, with those flipper feet, would come last.

If you had to do a party trick, what would you do?
I'd have to sing some karaoke, even though I have the worst voice in the history of mankind.

Which song?
Backstreet Boys, "I Want It That Way".

If you weren't a professional cricketer, what would you be?
I'd be a professional dancer in Las Vegas.

In your pre-match football warm-up, who is the one guy you don't want on your team?
I'm going for Peter Trego again. He doesn't pass the ball and always shoots from the halfway line.

What is the plan for when you've finished playing cricket?
I'd like to get into the media as a TV presenter, presenting sports shows or documentaries.

Where do you keep tomato ketchup - in the cupboard or in the fridge?
Good question. In the fridge, but it changes.

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Posted by   on (February 24, 2014, 15:29 GMT)

Look, I am a South African and therefor biased. Denis Compton was a great friend of SA but it did not prevent him from putting Springbok teams to the sword more than once! Nick was treated very harshly by the Eng selectors. There can be very little doubt that he would have stood up to the Australians and one M. Johnson better than Carberry. The latter merely flatters to deceive. Of internation standard only as a limited over player. Compton would have received more recognition in SA had he stayed here. But Eng was his choice and we respect him for that.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (February 24, 2014, 1:59 GMT)

Being a Saffa, which is essentially what Compton is, is becoming as popular as a pork chop in Palestine in the England dressing room. If Eng want to keep picking Saffas, as they have been for years, they really just need to adjust the "team ethos" a tad, and "embrace diversity."

Take a Saffa kid, send him to Harrow, and you will end up with someone with firm opinions, who is unafraid to voice them.

I think Lillian Thompson is right: make him the skipper! Cook is no good anyway, he has neither the heart nor the smarts for the job. He has failed. If Eng continue moulding their dressing room around him they are in for a run at the bottom of the rankings. Seriously. Graeme Smith has already retired 3 Eng skippers - Cook will not last the next mauling Eng will suffer at SA's hands, if captained by the chef. Smith will have him well roasted if he leads the Eng team to SA in 2015! He'll never recover, & nor will the team.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 23, 2014, 22:48 GMT)

@Inca_Hoots on (February 22, 2014, 22:46 GMT), it's a bit silly to compare Compton to Carberry in that fashion. Carberry's first run in the team consisted of one Test, so Compton had a better run than Carberry. Carberry's second run has been a single series in which he was one of the better-performed batsmen but he's still had fewer games than Compton did. Exactly what game-by-game stress are you referring to regarding Compton? He was selected, he played for a while and then he was dropped. Conjecture about his dropping before it happened was by the media and fans, which is nothing to do with the selectors. As for Root, he's a different kettle of fish. He's much younger than both Compton and Carberry for a start, plus he really showed something when batting in the middle order. The selectors thought that could translate to up the order but, for now at least, they were wrong. Let's not forget that Root actually was dropped during the Ashes and his average is 5 better than Compton's.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 17:32 GMT)

Is that because one of them is South African and the other is Australian ?

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 23, 2014, 16:54 GMT)

@ygkd: Yes, I see a McDermott in the U19 Squad and a Healy in the women's team. Is that what you're referring to? :) What you claim is usually an issue in Indian life, particularly politics and cinema. Fortunately, not so much in cricket.

Regards Compton, missing the Ashes tour may have been the best possible scenario for him. Like they say, sometimes you look better by not playing. Certainly, his stocks will have risen.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 23, 2014, 14:16 GMT)

I am not sure if Compton was as intense and obstructive as has been claimed but if he does get another run, he should try to enjoy himself more!

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 9:01 GMT)

inca_hoots. Carberry has only had 1 tour, hardly an extended run. I like Compton but I think he is now behind Moeen Ali, James Taylor and Sam Robson, a very heavy season for Somerset could see him move back up but I don't think it will be this year. I would like to see Moeen opening and Taylor and Onions included as well.

Posted by ygkd on (February 23, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

Yes, Compton was treated harshly. Doesn't happen Down Under - we are far better at treating the young sons and grandsons of former players to an endless red carpet called AIS, U19s and U23s. Different sides of the same coin really - players need to be looked at equally, no matter who they're related to, or not, as the case may be.

Posted by Inca_Hoots on (February 22, 2014, 22:46 GMT)

Look at the extended runs that Carberry and Root have had compared to the game-by-game stress that Compton has lived by. You need to ask if a place in the current England team is based on ability and character rather than "fitting in" with Alastair Cook's team ethos. I'm not insinuating that Compton is like KP, but maybe he just didn't fit the mould, and maybe he's not even aware what the mould is supposed to look like! Like KP Compton will never play for England again, and that's a mighty loss to the game. A very ironic situation given the character of his grandfather! I agree with StJohn... With the sacking of KP, my support for England has waned. For the first time ever, part of me wants to see them hammered by India this summer. I know I'm not alone.......

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 22:30 GMT)

Nice interview. nick seems like a top chap and i felt should have never left the team. so long as he is playing for Somerset though we are the winners. best of luck to you though nick you deserve another shot.

Posted by John.cric.lover on (February 22, 2014, 19:40 GMT)

Compton was treated harshly... Im an Indian, and i was impressed with his performance in India... He looked very solid in defence... An avge of 34 in his first India tour was good... He has the game to replace Trott... C'mon ECB, Bring him back....

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

Compton is the best person to be coming in for England. His gritty determined batting is exactly what this lineup needs at the moment.

Root and Carberry just won't cut it as openers. Compton needs to open the batting with Cook, or slot in at 3 or 4 in place of Trott / Pietersen.

Posted by StJohn on (February 22, 2014, 18:00 GMT)

I'm sad to say it, but as a hitherto keen England supporter, after the disaster of the Ashes and the way KP has been treated I care considerably less now about how England do. I've been following England since 1984 - the 80s and 90s were desolate decades for England in Test cricket, but things started to improve in 2000. But after false dawns in 2005 and 2010, I'm afraid I don't have much faith left that England are capable of producing and maintaining a great side that is no.1 in Tests for a sustained period in the near future. Nevertheless I hope Compton gets another chance, if only because the way the selectors treated him was pretty shambolic, reminiscent of Ray Illingworth's revolving door school of selection in the 90s. I think Cook has become a weak and metronomic captain, but I can't think of anyone who could do any better at the moment, so he'll probably have to soldier on.

Posted by Roshan_P on (February 22, 2014, 17:30 GMT)

The selectors have a tough job selecting between Taylor, Ballance, Root, Robson and Compton. They are all promising batsmen, but they can't all be played at once assuming Cook, Bell, Stokes and Prior have a place. I'm not sure who I'd pick, but the selectors will probably pick Root (even though he has been overworked), Ballance and one more from the other contenders. It doesn't really matter which batsmen they pick, as long they pick Onions!

Posted by Roshan_P on (February 22, 2014, 17:24 GMT)

I'm surprised how few people are choosing Ballance in their XIs. He was good in the ODIs and he showed some grit when facing the Aussies in the Test he played, although he didn't score much. I would rest Anderson and play Jordan or Finn, as Anderson definitely deserves a rest. Compton could play at 3 or open. If Compton is not played, then the only other option for 3 that I can think of is Bell, and he has never played well at 3. With Compton:

1) Cook, 2) Robson, 3) Compton, 4) Taylor / Ballance, 5) Bell, 6) Stokes, 7) (A good keeper), 8) Broad, 9) Onions, 10) Jordan / Finn, 11) Panesar.

Without either Compton or Robson (but not both):

1) Cook, 2) Robson / Compton, 3) Bell, 4) Taylor, 5) Ballance, 6) Stokes, 7) (A good keeper), 8) Broad, 9) Onions, 10) Jordan / Finn, 11) Panesar.

It's difficult to choose between Compton or Robson, Taylor or Ballance all four are good batsmen. Perhaps we could leave Cook out so both Compton and Robson could open!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by WyvernMike on (February 22, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

Compton was supposed to be too intense - we could have done with a bit of intensity in Australia. He must have been shafted by Cook - the captain and opener can usually choose his own opening partner. The failure of the opening partnership in every test in Australia duly followed. The selectors are unlikely to see sense - they have already ditched their best player to protect a weak captain. What England need is Broad as captain and Compton as opener. Cook can return to what he is good at - making big runs. A second double-hundred opening partnership with Compton would give our poor bowlers something to bowl at.

Posted by dirtydozen on (February 22, 2014, 16:46 GMT)

since trott may not play for a while. it would be better for english selectors to use him at no3. My potential squad would be 1)cook, 2)carberry/root, 3)compton, 4) ballance, 5) taylor/bairstow, 6) bell, 7) prior, 8) broad, 9) anderson, 10) kerrigan, 11) onions/plunkett

Posted by NALINWIJ on (February 22, 2014, 15:03 GMT)

England should have taken Compton for tests and Carberry for ODIs and they would have both prospered. Compton may not have the flair of his grandfather but the temperament of Boycott and that is what England needs to rebuild.

Posted by barryrichardsfan on (February 22, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

cook carberry bell compton taylor stokes davies broad anderson onions panesar. Ind and SL are going to be relatively easier opponents.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (February 22, 2014, 13:21 GMT)

Should have never been dropped by the English selectors before last season's home Ashes series. The selectors destroyed the careers of Root and Compton and the fortunes of the English team in one poor decision. On another note not a smart move by Nick to say he would pay to watch Kevin Pietersen as the insecure Engliish selectors may think this is a jobe at them ;)

Posted by JG2704 on (February 22, 2014, 12:44 GMT)

Compton seems to be having some decent banter with Trego. I'm sure there's a lot of leg pulling both ways. Personally - while I think he deserves a recall - I'm not too unhappy if it doesnt come as he is an asset to Somerset and to me that's more important

Posted by CodandChips on (February 22, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

Where do people get the idea that Compton did "well" in India. He was the only guy in the top 7 that played throughout the series and failed to score a hundred. Cook, Trott, KP, Bell and Prior all scored hundreds, and Root scored a 50 in his first innings. Compton scored 1 50 in 4 matches. Throughout his short test career Compton always looked like he struggled to score runs. Carberry may have been poor in the ODIs in England, sloppy in the ashes, but at least he looked more fluent than Compton, and put less pressure on the rest of the order by scoring something

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 9:43 GMT)

Exactly, whom did England pick as replacement for Compton? Surely not root! !!

Posted by crockit on (February 22, 2014, 9:41 GMT)

Root sits on the back foot against faster bowlers leading him to nick off to keeper and slips regularly. Should work it out, score heavily and then be brought in (to middle order where less vulnerable). Carberry did not do enough. Compton was harshly treated - did well away in India and NZ only to lose form at home which is not a basis to write him off. He and Robson are the real options to open with Cook. Middle order Bell and Stokes only shoe ins leaving two slots - Trott when well and meantime main options are Taylor, Ballance, Moeen and Compton (if Robson opens).

Keeper is up for grabs though Prior will be no. 1 if he shows form. Spinner. Borthwick and Kerrigan need more time. Panesar kept for subcontinent and only if bowling well. Tredwell steady but fact that Eng have Stokes as 4th seamer is opportunity to produce seaming wickets and play Moeen as fifth bowler/extra batter. Finn on form would be best complement to Anderson and Broad.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 8:17 GMT)

We have seen ECB's lack of flexibility when it comes to team ethic and the conduct of players. His moaning upon being dropped certainly wouldn't have sat well with them. i think the selectors look upto Root as the long-term opener and Cook no matter what his critics say isn't going anywhere. hard to see Compton breaking back into the team.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 7:49 GMT)

I think Nick is a very good batsman and he should be definitely in the England's playing XI. He showed a great composure and class during the series in India which was very tough and England did really well in India and his contribution there was one of the key's to success. Having showed a good batting after that he never featured in England's side which is really sad. With the current position of England's side he should be definitely batting in the top slot.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 6:22 GMT)

Had Compton been a middle-order batsman I bet he would have been back in the team, especially with KP gone. I know he is no way near KP's prowess but at least he can get the chance to build. He is an opener. England openers havent done well lately, but Cook's not going anywhere. And there is not much to choose between Carberry or Compton. I have a feeling Compton may prove to be a bit better than Carberry, but i guess England selectors know better. His moaning in public about being overlooked didn't go well with ECB. He's got to be careful given what happened with KP recently. Hope he gets another chance to prove himself soon.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

Plodder , county standard but works very earnestly, not up to it , might do if they run out of proper options vs favourable opposition

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 4:09 GMT)

I thought Compton was very unlucky to be dropped in the first place. His average wasn't great but he showed he could occupy the crease in India and I think with time he would have flourished. If he had started his career against Bangladesh or the West Indies he would have averaged 50+ instead of 35 and would have kept his place ahead of Carberry. He looked far more at ease in test cricket than any other player England have blooded since in the top order and I cannot quite understand the thinking behind his omission since, especially given the continued failure of the top order.

Posted by LillianThomson on (February 22, 2014, 3:01 GMT)

A grown-up like Compton would make a good England captain, and would be able to handle Pietersen instead of the team being robbed of its only world-class player to make a poor captain's man-management role easier.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 22, 2014, 2:44 GMT)

Certainly this must be Compton's last chance for international duty. It seems that he was dropped more based on personality than for cricketing reasons. The fact that KP has now been dropped based on personality suggests that the selectors are looking for more than just talent and skill to rebuild the team and I'm not really sure why they would change their minds regarding Compton's personality. That said, they may also decide that what they had been trying to do previously wasn't working and omitting Compton was part of that, so he may get a reprieve. While he may be in future, I've changed my mind on whether Root is the answer regarding the question of Cook's opening partner. I don't think Carberry is either but it would be tough on him to be dropped based on his Ashes performance when it was as good or better than most others. Given their age, either Carberry or Compton would provide the time to allow Root to grow into an international opener, if he's up to it.

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