Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 2nd day

Compton's fight can't ease his pain

After the shock of being told he would not open in the Ashes series, Nick Compton has responded with runs against the Australians but it won't change anything

David Hopps at New Road

July 3, 2013

Comments: 94 | Text size: A | A

Nick Compton walks off after being dismissed, Worcestershire v Australians, Tour match, New Road, 2nd day, July 3, 2013
Nick Compton was in a no-win situation playing for Worcestershire against the Australians © Getty Images
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Worcester became the setting for Nick Compton's last stand and it was a redoubtable last stand, too, as he tamed the Australians for the second time in a week. But he knew in his heart of hearts that it was futile resistance. He has already been formally told that England's Ashes plans lie elsewhere.

It would have taken a big hundred to leave England feeling slightly sheepish; it would have probably taken a triple hundred, batting blindfold, while reciting Corinthians backwards, to make them change their mind. Instead he made 79 in orderly fashion, upright of stance and upright in intentions, before he hauled a short ball from Jackson Bird to midwicket.

He dragged himself off the field slowly, not wanting to be out in a match in which, deep down, he had not particularly wanted to play. It was an inconsistent innings, with phases where he struggled for timing, but in what has become his personal mini Ashes series, he has taken the Australians for 194 in three goes.

He has seen off three new balls and worn down every Australian fast bowler in turn. He has responded to the pressure England have put him under with conviction. He could not have done much more. But England are determinedly looking elsewhere.

James Whitaker, the England selector, was on hand to keep up appearances, surely aware like everybody else that he was largely ticking boxes. Joe Root, England's new kid on the block will open the batting with Alastair Cook; Jonny Bairstow will be expected to add some dash at No 6, even though England's warm-up at Chelmsford illustrated the blindingly obvious: he has barely had a bat in his hand for the past nine months.

For Compton, Root's emergence as an England star in the making was a ticking time bomb. The question, though, is whether this bomb has exploded before its time.

At Worcester, they know a bit about Test trials; Graeme Hick used to go through them pretty much on an annual basis. Twenty years ago, when the ground was still regarded as the most idyllic in England, rather than the unsatisfying but necessary ground in transition of today, Hick confirmed his England place by stroking the Australians all around New Road, treating a young, blond legspinner with particular disdain. Then Shane Warne went to Old Trafford and bowled the Ball of the Century to Mike Gatting and things felt the same again.

For Compton, though, this was not a Test trial, it was simply a trial. Worcestershire were grateful to be bolstered by a batsman of his talent, but there was little immediate value in it. He announced himself against the fourth ball he faced with an emphatic cover drive against Bird; there were later periods when he struggled for timing. It was an innings which communicated that his desire to play for England remains as strong as ever, but he accepted afterwards that it would change nothing.

One sensed the Worcester crowd knew as much. New Road was packed to the gunnels, so much so that the PA announcer asked the crowd, in a formal, somewhat old-fashioned way, if they would not mind sitting a little closer together, but as Compton played what must have felt like the loneliest innings of his life there was no sense of gathering tension.

England are nothing if not meticulous. They successfully lobbied for Compton to guest for Worcestershire, only a week after he had encountered them for Somerset, not because they are having second thoughts, but because stuff happens: somebody could break a finger in a training mishap or have a seedy encounter with a Nottingham curry.

It is nine days now since the ECB released a statement from Geoff Miller, the national selector, that jarred in its finality. "We believe that Joe Root is currently the best opening partner for Alastair Cook and he will open the batting against Essex," it read. Essex = England = the first Investec Test. Perhaps the entire series. Perhaps the next ten years.

I haven't had a fair crack - Compton

  • Nick Compton has admitted that he was in shock after being told that he lost his place at the top of the England's order ahead of the Ashes series but he believes he has proved his resilience by his fighting response against the Australians in the last two matches.

  • "I'm proud of the way I've performed in the last couple of games after what was very disappointing news, which to be honest came as a bit of a shock," he said. "I don't feel that I had a fair crack of the whip. I feel like I did enough in New Zealand with back-to-back hundreds. I had an okay Test at Lord's in the context of the game and what Cooky and I did.

  • "Then Headingley was a poor Test match and that was it. By my own admission I wasn't in a great place. It was a poor Test, no doubt about it, but one and a half Test matches doesn't really constitute a series or a career.

  • However, he does not believe the recent runs will change anything. "I don't really know where things stand to be honest. I got told I had been dropped. Your guess is as good as mine. Would you drop me for an Essex warm-up game and then pick me? Isn't that messing a few people around, I don't know?

  • "They have not said anything about being on standby. After Headingley Andy Flower said go away and score runs. I have done that. How many runs is scoring runs? They said I have missed out on the Essex game and go away and prove us wrong."

  • "I'm certainly not going to lose hope of playing in an Ashes series," he added. "It's a dream of mine and something I've worked very hard to achieve. It's been disappointing of late but I'll keep fighting on because I regard myself as a fighter. I've had to do that time and time again. I feel ready but it's not my job to select."

Minutes before the release was made, Compton's half-century had been invaluable as Somerset squeezed their first Championship win of the season on a treacherous surface at Derby. He had no inkling of what was to follow. He was deeply upset when Miller informed him he would not be opening at Trent Bridge and his hurt still ran deep when Andy Flower, England's team director, rang him the following day.

It must have felt surreal a day after that when Compton fulfilled a long-standing obligation for a photo shoot with England's captain, Alastair Cook. It had been envisaged as promotional material involving England's Ashes opening pair. It had become a stray entry in the diary that could not be scrubbed out. But it doubtless gave Compton more opportunity to discuss why England's view had changed.

England's mood about Compton shifted irreversibly after the last of his four failures against New Zealand, a tortuous 7 from 45 balls at Headingley, one which left his batting average at 32 after nine Tests.

Flower was in tetchy mood after the Test as he was pressed about England's desultory scoring rate on the Saturday evening, more careful than ever to ask the media to explain its questions. The concentration was on Jonathan Trott, but England's thoughts were already centred upon Compton, as if oblivious to the back-to-back hundreds he had made in New Zealand only a few weeks earlier.

The decision to omit Compton is one of the most clinical of Flower's reign. Marcus Trescothick, Somerset's captain, spoke for many when he called it unfair. But Flower had been taken by the verve shown by the Yorkshire pair, Root and Bairstow, in front of their home crowd. Michael Vaughan, an Ashes-winning England captain and Root's mentor, lobbied hard for him to open the batting, insisting that Ashes series had to be won with aggressive cricket.

Nobody has reflected, until now, that Compton had batted stoutly, and uncomplainingly, against New Zealand with a bruised rib and a fractured finger: the finger was broken before the Lord's Test against New Zealand when he fell victim to the dog-thrower utilised by the batting coach, Graham Gooch; the rib injury followed in the nets at Headingley before a rained-out first day. Neither was enough to put him out of the match; both were enough to put him out of sorts.

Against New Zealand, he was out of form. Somehow, from that simple fact, the idea has been allowed to take hold that his batting had become careworn and that, if he became psychologically tight against New Zealand, he could be even more affected during the pressure of an Ashes series. Compton, becalmed, it was felt, could place additional pressure on Cook, and that was a risk that England were not prepared to take.

That image is accentuated by his short forward stride - his batting signature, the most obvious technique that sets him apart. It transformed his career by making bowlers bowl in his favoured areas, but it can make him look static. When he returned to work with those who know his game best, such as Neil Burns and the unsung Somerset coach, Pete Sanderson, they reaffirmed that he should keep faith in it. On a slow Worcester pitch, that front foot movement looked solid.

Perhaps Compton has never quite answered the label that in essence he remains a county cricketer. It is a damaging reputation to have in these days of academies and forward planning.

They used to say the same about Hick (while giving him countless more Tests) and there is a deeper Hick comparison here, too, because last season he failed by a day to become the first player to make 1,000 first-class runs in an English season by the end of May, a feat last achieved by Hick, another southern African, in 1988.

He was told after Headingley to go back to Somerset and make runs. He has done just that, averaging 50-plus and taming England's best day-in, day-out county bowler, Graham Onions, by taking 166 off Durham at Taunton. He is right to think that he has done all that England requested.

In his three innings against the Australians, Compton has surely scotched the theory that he becomes tight when the pressure is on. He batted blissfully against them at Taunton - out to a brilliant catch and a debatable lbw decision - and at Worcester, if not quite as serene, life for the Australians became much simpler the moment he was out.

The question still nags: are Australia happy not be facing Compton at Trent Bridge? The indications still suggest that they are.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 10, 2013, 14:17 GMT)

I am a big fan of Compton and feel his time is not done yet.Great piece of writing.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 6, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

please publish this time. I have slightly changed the wording of one of my lines so (even though there should have been no offence with the orig post) there can be no offence with this one

@jackiethepen - I am a fan. But a fan of the team above the player. Listen , anyone who has regularly been on these threads knows how big a Bell fan you are - So much so that you think he should be immune from criticism.

Possibly my favourite Eng player is Broad or maybe Swann or Prior and my favourite county side is Somerset. But the difference between you and I is that despite my preferences on players or teams I try not to let it cloud my views. I have criticised the selection of Broad at times and despite my love of Somerset said I thought Craig should have been dropped during the India ODI series and Jos played like a headless chicken at times during the CT. I genuinely don't know any poster on here who idolises one player so much

Posted by sharidas on (July 6, 2013, 6:59 GMT)

I really feel for Compton. In Cricket, these kind of issues have always happened. There have been fantastic players who never made it to the first team purely because there was someone else equally good or more lucky. Don't lose heart Nick, your time will come again. You are a fighter...stay fighting fit !

Posted by   on (July 6, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

To have performances unrewarded is the worst thing that can happen to anyone, be it a professional sportsman in a team sport, or a person working in the corporate world. I really feel bad for Nick Compton. He's done all that's been asked of him against the Australians. 194 runs in 3 innings against the Australians? He's averaging 64.7...wake up Flower and give the man a break!

Posted by JG2704 on (July 5, 2013, 20:35 GMT)

@H_Z_O on (July 5, 2013, 14:55 GMT) I noticed JTP said "When so called fans start to "omit" stats because they don't back up their arguments then you know there is an agenda rather than a discussion"

but then in your post on (July 4, 2013, 22:45 GMT) you posted some stats. I'm guessing they were accidentally overlooked as an honest mistake

Posted by JG2704 on (July 5, 2013, 20:30 GMT)

@jackiethepen - CTD Anyway you say about stats.Well since Ind 2011 Bell has averaged

111 vs WI inc 2 not outs and then (in scoring order) 43 vs Ind (saved with a 100 n/o in the last test) 38.25 vs NZ in NZ 28.8 vs SA 27.66 in SL 18.25 vs NZ at home 8.5 in UAE

Sorry but IMO they are not the stats of a man who should be guaranteed a 1st team place and certainly not the stats of a player who is as great as you make out

I have criticised/praised Bell's performances as I see it and as I would criticise/praise any player if they performed similarly. I'm sorry you don't like that but I will always try to be as honest as possible. And vs NZ (despite him playing well) did he or did he not get out to a loose shot leaving Prior 30 overs to see out with Broad,Jimmy and Monty?

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 5, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

@jackiethepen I can't speak for JG2704 but I certainly have no agenda against Bell. I think he's going through a bad run of form (which you acknowledge) and that he'll come out of it the other side, because he's a proven Test match performer. And I'll always back a guy who shows a willingness to battle even when he's not playing as well as he'd like. Bell's proven time and time again that he's got that capacity.

I just think that with Bell out of form and KP just back from injury we should leave Root in the middle order. I'm sorry if you feel that's a criticism of Bell, but it isn't.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (July 5, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

I don't think Compton's England days are over. There is a high degree of conservatism in the England approach in almost all things (the plucking of Root is one exception) & this lack of an adventurous spirit from the selectors suggests to me that England tends to go for tried & tested rather than left-field. It all makes for rather unexciting copy, but at least we know where we are. IMO, Compton can expect to go to Oz & even now it looks as though he's first reserve bat (assuming that Bairstow bats at #6). He would, I think, be ahead of James Taylor & as an even longer shot, Michael Carberry, for instance. Unless things go badly pear-shaped or there's an injury, I can't see any movement in personnel until after the 3rd Test at the earliest. As has been said before, it's much harder to get dropped once you've become a fixture, even though it sometimes looks a no-brainer (like Ahmedabad when Broad played & Panesar didn't). Only a drubbing makes the selectors think again.

Posted by jackiethepen on (July 5, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

When so called fans start to "omit" stats because they don't back up their arguments then you know there is an agenda rather than a discussion. Bell's West Indies scores last summer showed he had a good Series. Without him we may have lost one or two of those games. Conditions in early summer are always difficult in England. No Test side should be underestimated. Roach is a very fine bowler and he had England reeling at one point. West Indies not to be reckoned with? Try saying that to India. Bell was the only batsman to show defiance against SA in the first Test at the Oval. He's not in his best form but he has played key innings. That is how you win or save games. Bell's class will mean he will return to form and he's a proven Test batsman. They don't exactly grow on trees. When KP got his dip - and he talks about how he couldn't hardly hit the ball - that is even harder. It happens to players. Bairstow, Compton and Root are unproven. They will find it a hard journey.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 5, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

@Chris_P on (July 5, 2013, 1:57 GMT) I don't have an issue with him being dropped for the balance of the side or if they think he's not up to the mark (even though this reeks of double standards to me). Personally I think if you're winning games then you can overlook a batsman or bowler being horribly out of nick but if you're losing games you have to make tough decisions and the the lame duck is an established player then so be it. It's not like you can't recall the guy if he goes back to his county and performs. Either Eng used Nick as a stopgap for Root or they were extremely shortsighted. If the formar then I wish they had just been brave enough to go with Root in the 1st place. But my main issue is why they asked Nick to play for Worcs if the shop was already shut.

Posted by Chris_P on (July 5, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

@JG2704 I feel your frustration as I have also been experiencing that for a couple of seasons now. I agree with Meety on why England are tampering with an already workable formula. Surely the start of an Ashes series in not where to start? Root may be the future but is is an "all or nothing" option he has been given. As an Aussie, although Root appears to have far more talent than Crompton, it is better to have someone totally new to a position & a youngster as well, facing up than an established professional who you know would give you his all & has history to prove it. But if Root works out, then all will be happy with the decision. Still........

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 22:45 GMT)

Just realised I said 9 innings but only listed 6. I did look up all 9 though (sorry). The run was 24, 26*, 11, 17, 75, 31, 6, 30, 6. I had intentionally left out the 75 (because we'd already discussed it) but got his two scores in Dunedin the wrong way around and somehow forgot to include his scores in Wellington and the Auckland first innings. That said, I think the point I made still stands. He's clearly out of form. Wouldn't be enough for me to drop him (he's proven his class for me) but does make me question the wisdom of taking Root out from the middle order. With Kevin coming in before him and Root coming in after, we could afford to give Bell some time to play himself into form. Not sure we can with Bairstow at 6. We need runs from Bell because I'm just not convinced we'll get them from Bairstow. I hope I'm wrong, but it's got me worried.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

@jackiethepen on (July 4, 2013, 16:50 GMT) I will apologise for getting my stats wrong and I did state that it was just from memory so I overlooked the 50s he scored vs SA. I still stand by what I say in that he should have been dropped during/after UAE as he was the worst batsmen out there but I would say the same about any batsman in those circumstances. Vs India he certainly helped save the game but vs NZ (while I admired him batting so long) it was a loose shot which got him out and with about 30 overs to go Eng were nowhere near safety and you'd still have made NZ favourites to win the game at that point. And BTW - what I call batting through is taking your side to a position of likely safety so I'd also say the same applies to Collingwood in the 1st Ashes test of 2009.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

@H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 17:27 GMT) To be fair to JTP I did overlook some 50s made vs SA , but JTP will defend/big up Bell at every possible juncture. There was a game (I think vs WI) when Broad took a 6 for and JTP never even acknowledged the wkts Broad took but was quick to tell us all of the important bit of fielding which Bell affected a run out

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 20:49 GMT)

@Cyril_Knight - Re Nick/Bell - I'm not going to try and compare in terms of quality.Bell has been an international quality player for longer. However Nick was given his opportunity based on a full season where he averaged nearly 100 and scored/averaged significantly higher than any other English batsman and was recognised by Wisden as one of the outstanding cricketers of last summer. Yes it could turn out that he's a one season wonder but even this year he's still above 50. Re him being deluded if he thinks he's been treated badly - Eng never once gave Nick their backing during the NZ away series (even after 2 tons) and they've given a player who has gone out of his way to play for another county false hope of playing in the Ashes if they had no intention of considering him I'd say that's 2 examples of shoddy treatment

Your attitude (all the atolen cliches in your 1st post) seems to say that unless you are a gifted cricketer you may as well give up

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (July 4, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

To even compare Bell with Compton is a joke. Ian Bell is a class batsmen, proven time and time again at international level. He can score big chanceless hundreds at a good pace or knuckle down and anchor a defensive innings.

I often wonder how many commentators here have seen Compton play in County cricket. He is drab, dull, defensive, and deluded if he thinks he has been treated badly. He was given a chance at international level based on half a season of success in a 9 year career. While other far better batsmen, like Rob Key, can excel consistently and never get a real look in. Batsmen like James Taylor and even Ravi Bopara are far more unlucky not to be in the reckoning than Nick Compton.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 4, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

Australia has seen the light. In response to the floundering of an inexperienced young team, the very accomplished veteran Chris Rodgers (239 1st class games) has been selected to establish stability & leadership at the top of the order. Dropped as openers are the fairly experienced Ed Cowan (97 1st class) and the relative novice David Warner (31st class games.) The Australian selectors have also brought back the veteran Brad Haddin. Maturity replaces 'potential.' Their youth policy has proven miserably inadequate for international cricket.

Compton has not the record of Rogers, but he has more experience than Bairstow & Root. More importantly, he has those few more years of top class cricket experience that build the maturity & strength that makes Rogers of importance to Aus.

How ironic that Aus have made an about face and opted for age & experience, & Eng are pinning their hopes on unseasoned talent.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 17:27 GMT)

@jackiethepen to be fair, while YorkPud was wrong about the no tons in the last 18 months thing, he/she was actually defending Bell at the time (pointing out that KP went 12 months without a big score before Adelaide). As for JG2704's comment about the 2 50s, he/she also expressly excluded the WI series. With all due respect to the West Indies, they aren't one of the big sides anymore and a ton against them, at home, is hardly anything to write home about. You point out his magnificent 75 in Auckland but it was his only score of note in the series. Since that 116* in Nagpur (which drew the match but actually won the series) his last 9 innings have been 26, 24*, 31, 6, 30, 6. Even he would admit that's a bad run of form. That said, I'd still select him because that 75 and 116* show he's still capable of performing when England need him to. It's Bairstow's selection I'd question. He's a fine prospect, but this is the Ashes.

Posted by jackiethepen on (July 4, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Sam Suri asks: When did Ian Bell last play a substantial innings in the Test arena? Auckland, New Zealand, when he got 75 and batted over nearly 6 hours to draw Series with different partners, Cook, Root, Bairstow and Prior. He got severe tonsillitis in the next Test at Lords and was in bed for most of it. He was back for the next Test but not back in form. That's up to date. We are on Cricinfo. Why don't folk check their facts before launching into attacks, tirades etc. Bell also scored a ton in the last 12 months despite everyone claiming otherwise. Nagpur, 116*, to draw the match and the Series. Job done. 2 50s in the last 18 months? No, seven 50s and 1 ton.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 4, 2013, 15:01 GMT)

@JG2704... Cdnt agree more, after such a poor and ineffective 2yrs it is unbelievable he is still in the side, but I think he will be so tormented by patto etc that his position will become untenable, even the commentators are now on his case

Posted by AlanHull on (July 4, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

Compton has shown that when the pressure is on he becomes like a "deer in the headlights". His final test was painful to watch and it was a relief when he got out.

Some people are made to play test cricket while others can't make that final step up.

Mark Ramprakash and Graham Hick were both excellent county batsmen and even scored test match hundreds but never seemed to have the test match temperament.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

@SirViv1973 Bell actually made his debut the season before against West Indies, and scored 70 (second highest score in the innings behind Flintoff's 72). He came in for Thorpe in a dead rubber. He then outscored Thorpe in the Bangladesh series. He was always going to play. It was definitely a decision between the uncapped KP (he'd played ODIs but no Tests) and the experienced Thorpe. A lot of people felt it was an unjustified selection at the time, so the comparison is apt.

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (July 4, 2013, 14:14 GMT)

While you don't become a bad player overnight you also don't wake up as a good player. Travel back to April 2012 and contemplate the idea of Nick Compton opening for England in 10 consecutive Ashes Tests. People would have laughed at you. Compton's entire career success has come in a three month period, he is just not that good. Form is temporary; class is permanent. Compton is not class.

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (July 4, 2013, 13:48 GMT)

It could be worse just ask Michael Carberry ...

Posted by whatawicket on (July 4, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

of course hes still in the running but just because he found the aussie pacers easy to get runs off in the games he played against them, don't make it that he gets into the side

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 4, 2013, 12:20 GMT)

@SD12, As I remember it KP was always going to play in the ashes side in 05, whether Thorpe played or not. The decison the selectors had to make was did they stick with Bell (who had played in the 1st 2 tests of the summer against Bang, but wasn't estabalished in the side yet, but was seen as an important part of the future middle order) or did they play Thorpe who had been head and shoulders above any other Eng Batsman for the last 10 yrs, for one last series. In the end Eng went with Bell & won the series so on the face of it, it was the correct call, however Bell only ave 16 in the series!

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

I'd be laughing when the likes of Bairstow struggle against the Aussie quicks, and England will be asking for Compton's services again. As good a player Joe Root is, isn't England rushing him for the opening role? The Aussie bowling attack is quite good, and can someone remind me when Ian Bell played a substantial innings last time in the test arena?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

@Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (July 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT) The problem is that it's not always easy to find positives when the Eng selectors have asked you to play for another side with an eye on getting into the Ashes side and then you score 2 50s compared to no 50s between them (JB and Root) and that against much better opposition and then you're shunted , must really hurt and also affect your trust for those in charge. Also - if it doesn't work out - England will steadfastly stick with their plans so that they can say I told you so when it goes right and brush it under the carpet when it doesn't

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 11:55 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith on (July 4, 2013, 7:39 GMT) One thing I will disagree with you on is that Bell will last the series. He is undroppable in the eyes of those who matter

@TimMann on (July 4, 2013, 8:37 GMT) Bopara's a funny one. When he gets dropped it often seems harsh and yet when he gets recalled he seemed to do nothing of note to earn that recall

@YorkshirePudding on (July 4, 2013, 8:48 GMT) Sorry bud , but what do you mean by a Solo ton (3 solo tons in an inns) and also am baffled by your dates? KP is different to Bell as he can go from looking horrible to looking sensational and then back to horrible in 3 inns. Also he is the one top order player who can force a game with his SR.

@SirViv1973 on (July 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT) I don't see him playing again for England either.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 11:54 GMT)

@H_Z_O - Re Bell - I just feel that whenever he is out of form it gets brushed under the carpet with the media. I mean the series in UAE - that was his equivalent of Nick's last series and yet Nick gets all the media pressure/scrutiny while Bell never even gets talked about. Off the top of my head (and I'll no doubt be corrected) if you discount the WI series Bell has scored 2 50s and one ton in 6 series. And yes it does deprive a Worcs player the chance to play against Aus and where's the motivation for Nick in the 2nd inns of this game? Also people say about his SR and balance of the side which are fair enough points but those who picked him knew what sort of a player he was beforehand

Posted by MarkTaffin on (July 4, 2013, 11:50 GMT)

Other than the fact there was no need to drop Compton, this just seems an OTT effort by Flower & Miller to show some mock ruthlessness and strength to the Aussies while they were having real problems of their own. Unfortunately, this could easily backfire on Flower & Miller. And Root & YJB. And, let us not forget, England's chances.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 11:41 GMT)

Should Root bag a hypothetical pair when the going gets tough half way through the series at critical juncture the selectors could be make to look very foolish. Alternatively this could be the judgement call of the decade.

Posted by glance_to_leg on (July 4, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

Absolutely agree with everyone who is saying that Compton should play before Bairstow. So should Taylor. So, probably, should Bopara. There are a few others whose names could enter the mix. I would not open with Root in this series, and can see no good reason, if Compton is not picked, for not having a batting order of Cook, Trott (perfectly capable of opening), Bell, KP, Root, Taylor/Bairstow, Prior.

Posted by disco_bob on (July 4, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

With 10 Ashes Tests coming up the door is hardly closed.

Posted by Behind_the_bowlers_arm on (July 4, 2013, 10:16 GMT)

As said England are being meticulous in having him bat here so that he is ready if needed. He needs to take that as a positive that he is next in line and drop the moaning at the selectors. I can understand England's thinking as obviously Root has looked like a long term player from the beginning and they see a long term future for Bairstow. Hard on Compton after his NZ centuries but I certainly wouldn't see this as the end of the line. Sport has a habit of throwing up new chances and you have to be ready.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (July 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

@Zummerzet, I completley agree with you, I just don't see bairstow outscoring Compton in this series. I think the other thing some people are overlooking is that given Bell's patchy form in recent times & Root's promotion, our middle order is looking very vulnerable. @JG & HZO, also agree with you guys why is he playing for Wor when the selectors already knew they were going to pick Bairstow? This really dosen't make any sense to me. The talk is that NC is next in line but if a middle order batsman needs to be replaced I don't see how he will slot into the middle order & I also don't see Root being moved back down now he been promoted. Therefore I doubt we will see Nick play for Eng again which I think is a great shame as he has done very little wrong & has shown incredible mental strength to come back & ave 65 in his 3 knocks against the Aus attack.

Posted by zummerrset on (July 4, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

Apologies if it has already been said but....... This is not a choice between Compton and Root. The choice England are making is Bairstow instead of Compton. Flair rather than consitent runs. In my book this is madness - solid starts are a must against a highly competitive Australian attack. Root is genius and would score as many runs as Compton opening. However I do not see Bairstow consistently scoring to the extent of Compton so bat Root at 6. We must grind the Aussie bowling attack down and I believe Compton, Cook and Trott are the guys to do it. Follow this up with Pieterson, Bell, Root and Prior once the attack are weary - more than enough flair in this quartet. I am sure that the Aussies will prefer Bairstow to Compton. Always a good selection test!

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

@JG2704 "What annoys me is why was Nick asked to play for Worcs if the shop was already shut and if the shop wasn't already shut what more did Nick need to do?"

The other thing is not only was it shabby treatment of Nick but if the shop was shut and he wasn't going to play during the Ashes, why was a Worcs batsman deprived of the chance to face Australia? It's one thing for the ECB to ride roughshod over the Counties if it's for the betterment of the England team, but it's quite another if they do it just to make themselves feel less guilty for dropping someone.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

You pick your best XI. Is Compton better than Root? Are 3 drop anchor type of batsmen needed at 1, 2 & 3? You can't drop Trott because his record is too good and he's the closest thing to a Ken Barrington type. I think Compton can be a Test player, but the New Zealand series showed that the young tyros from Yorkshire can take an innings by the throat. Compton has to settle for being the 12th man, the guy who can come straight in if there's an injury to one of the others. But that's OK, it worked out for Paul Collingwood.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 8:59 GMT)

@Meety @Mitty2 It's funny how a few weeks ago we were all mocking Australia's plans for being in disarray and now yours look like they're coming together nicely and I fear ours are all over the shop. We may have just handed you the initiative.

Like you Meety, my biggest worry isn't this series, but what a bad series could do for Root's career. Like you I also don't see why, having found an opening partner for Cook who scored back to back hundreds and a middle order batsman in Root who had shades of Mike Hussey about him, we go and change things. A big risk.

Posted by Tigg on (July 4, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

Dropped because he looked out of form playing injured for two tests. Wow. While I have no problem with the England management being ruthless i wish they'd show consistency with it.

Compton hasn't had a fraction of the chances players like Broad and Bresnan have had, and has a better record than the out-of-sorts Bairstow.

Look at the last couple of games. Bairstow managed 40 odd, and Root a little more, against a second division attack. Compton has scored nearly 200 against the best Australia has. 'Fast scoring wins the Ashes' is a load of Rubbish. What won the last Ashes (from a batting point of view) was Cook and Trott grinding the bowlers down slowly over days. Wear them out.

Compton should open.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 4, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

@VillageBlacksmith, I think you might find that you are wrong in the statement that bell has never scored a Solo ton. In fact hes scored 3 solo tons in an innings, these being in tests 1956, 1959, and 1996. the First 2 were against Balngladesh and the 3rd against Sri lanka.

Also consider that on a number of occasions hes been the first player to score a ton in an innings, India at the Oval in 2011, and I think in one of the SA during the away series of 2009/10.

Hes been a little out of form over the last 18 months with no ton since his double at the Oval in 2011, but thats not unusal KP went 12 months without a big score then got one at Adeladie in 2010.

Posted by TimMann on (July 4, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Why no fuss about Bopara, dropped after scoring 3 test centuries on the bounce? What's so special about Compton? Root should have been opening all winter.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

I'm not against Nick being dropped to change the balance of the side and whether he is a one season wonder/a county journeyman or unlucky to get the boot although it seems that different players get different treatment.

What annoys me is why was Nick asked to play for Worcs if the shop was already shut and if the shop wasn't already shut what more did Nick need to do?

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 4, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

@JG2704 I agree about Bell which is exactly why I'd rather Root was at number 6 instead of Jonny. Bell's form is a worry but I'd still have him in over Jonny because he's got Test match hundreds and lots of experience, but obviously if he struggled during the series I'd consider giving his position to Jonny and moving Root up to 5.

I think Root's our number 6 for now, and I think Nick was probably harshly dropped in the first place and has responded to it with runs against the Australian bowlers. Bring him in to open (with Root at 6) and our batting looks much more solid to me.

Posted by brusselslion on (July 4, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

I was never a champion of Compton and would have prefered to have seem Carbery given a chance in the days when... However, apart from the last Test, Compton has done little wrong. I also remain unconvinced by Bairstow as a Test match batsman, and fail to see to see what all the hype is about. Moreover, the premise that England should pick the best opener is flawed: They should pick the best team and within that team, the best batting line-up.

Root may be a better opener than Compton but he is also a better middle order batsman than Bairstow. To my mind, Cook, Compton ... Root is a stronger line-up than Cook, Root .. Bairstow.

@Lyndon McPaul (7:03 GMT): Re strike-rate - Comparing Compton's strike rate with Watson/ Rogers is the wrong one to make. The latter two know that their Test places are currently secure. The better comparsion is with Cowan & Hughes (who are also playing for their Test careers). Of the 3 Compton was in the middle.

Posted by siltbreeze on (July 4, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

England have a straight choice between Compton and Bairstow (though many people on here are still characterising it as Compton vs Root).

In the last 6 weeks Bairstow has played just 3 innings (12, 23, 28), Compton has played 10 (inc. 166, 56, 81, 34, 79). No doubt Bairstow is a huge talent but we are taking a risk on his form going into the first test. It would have made a lot more sense for Bairstow to play for Somerset against the Aussies than Compton for Worcester.

Mind you, I'm also worried about the form of Bell and particularly Prior (no half century in 13 innings since April).

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (July 4, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

I think this is a huge, knee-jerk mistake by England. With Aus. putting so much onus on short-spell bowlers, seeing off the new ball and getting settled in will be crucial for England's batsmen. Run-rates don't matter a jot in test cricket; 20 wickets wins a game. England are gradually sliding down the same mistakes Aus. have made: 6-or-out batsmen expected to score the runs; metronomic and one-dimensional bowlers expected to run through batting line-ups. Disappointing.

Posted by gemmy123 on (July 4, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

Compton out-psyched himself against the kiwis and his game fragmented. Root sauntered to the crease with a smile and played with freedom.

Compton couldn't get the ball off the square and showed technical flaws against the left armers (of which Australia has several), Root hit good runs, refused to be tied down and was innovative under pressure.

The only surprise in all of this has been the quality of Compton's response with the bat, which has been magnificent, but then he goes and blows it with a sideways swipe at the selectors, therefore showing an element of the temperamental nature that was a big part of his original de-selection...

Posted by howdle on (July 4, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

he might get another chance but he scores too slowly its as simple as that I feel. Scoring at at strike rate of 40 on a decent pitch upon which one of the opposition scored a run-a-ball hundred doesn't do you any favors. Yes the disparity in the quality of attacks is apparent but he had to show initiative, not poking around for a half decent score, because thats why he was dropped

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 4, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

@landl47... perhaps u are calling the cricinfo stats team no brainers as well? pls check the stats, and even affable athers is now on to bell, saying he too often gets in and then gets out to soft dismissals... and as for scoring runs when the team needs them, that could not be further from the truth with bell, he has never scored a solus ton, gets out just before the new ball and cannot bat with the tail... remember PAK (ave 8!!) and IND? He will not score a ton in this ashes and will not last the series

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 7:35 GMT)

The difference between say Comptons innings and Watsons...Compton was facing Bird, Harris and Faulkner..while Watson faced Shantry, Russell and Andrew. I reckon I'd look fluent against worcestershires attack.

Posted by 200ondebut on (July 4, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

It was always a mistake giving NC the opening berth in NZ. It clearly would only have been a temporary measure with Root being the long term solution. They should have opted for Root then and this would not be an issue now. Compton had a good 18 months - otherwise his career has been average. England need someone who can average 45+ opening the batting not 35+. Tough on NC but he really is not quite good enough.

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Sorry Everybody but Compton was Rubbish! His scoring rate only contributed stagnation and not much else to the Worcestershire scoreline. The pitch was an absolute belter and Watson's 100 was the kind of innings that is required to win Tests on such a pitch. In contrast; Compton snail paced scoring on a pitch where runouts may have been the biggest wicket taker in the Oz innings; kept Jackson Bird and Australia in the game all afternoon. The selectors are wise in trying a strokemaker (Root) along with an accumulator (Cook) and bypassing Compton. In saying this however; Watson is still to prove himself in ideal bowling conditions and I hope that his shot selection is up to it. It's a faint hope but we shall see!

Posted by   on (July 4, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

While it must hurt, at least Compton can call himself a Test Cricketer, one who didn't fail the test and one with test centuries to his name! Four decades ago a much greater batsman, Alan Jones, never got the chance and had to retire after 36 thousand first-class runs and 56 ditto centuries to his name without getting the call that mattered.

Posted by laduma on (July 4, 2013, 6:10 GMT)

I think the ECB has crumbled under media pressure. Nick like any other player went a lean patch and that was used as a reason to drop him. Joe Root has not done enough to deserve the opener's spot. it is such things that leave a bitter taste in players. I think AF & AC should reconsider and give NC his slot back

Posted by landl47 on (July 4, 2013, 5:35 GMT)

Whether Bairstow is the best young middle order player in England is an entirely different question from whether Root is a better opener than Compton. No-one is suggesting that Bairstow should open or Compton should bat #6. England should choose the best opener to partner Alastair Cook. If Root's it (and it's hard to argue with his early season form) then he should be opening.

@Mitty2: as a point of comparison, in the most recent series Compton made 39 runs in 4 innings while Root made 243 in 4 innings and was man of the series.

@Village Blacksmith: when it comes to Ian Bell, the no-brainer is you. Both statistically and in making runs when the team needs them he has shown over and over again that he is world class. Quite what your beef is with him I don't know, but it's getting very tiresome.

Posted by tslwang on (July 4, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

England should not fall into the trap of ear-marking players for the future. Select players based on their form and merit. Australia did this with Hughes, Warner, and Johnson. It hasn't worked out for them, and it has left some good players, whilst in their form, out of the team.

Posted by CricketCoachDB on (July 4, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

Agreed CaliforniasFinest, spot on-it should be Compton v Bairstow. But I would say in terms of opening, Compo is showing more of the grit and discipline that the role requires than Root at the moment. I'd go with Compton opening and Root down the order-a position he is proven in at Test level. He is still an international rookie when it comes to opening.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (July 4, 2013, 1:25 GMT)

Very unfortunate, Compton is one of those guys who come through the grind. Slug it out in the domestic circuit for more than 5-6 years and then command a place in the national team. They are the guys who have to work hard consistently for longer periods as they are short on talent. Root and Bairstow have the talent. But how to balance the talent and hard work when it comes to team selection is a tricky issue. I guess, if it were not for Ashes, which the Pommies consider very prestigious, Compton would have kept his place. We have often seen that talent gets the better of hard work. Often, cricketers like Compton end up feeling why not a fair chance to me? It happened to Chris Rogers, whose hard working ethics were sidelined for the talent of Shaun Marsh and the end result? Marsh is nowhere now and Rogers has made a cracking comeback. I feel, it would not be long before the talent of Root stumbles somewhere and Compton gets another chance. I hope for that! Hard work must get its due.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 4, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

Well, as an Australian, and many will agree with me (even before having seen the warm up results), especially on remembrance of bairstow v roach, having no Compton and root opening instead of where he got his maiden ton is just great. In a series where collectively, the batsmen were failing, who prospered? Compton - with two strong centuries. As a point of comparison, I don't think root made a single significant score (emphasis on 'I think'). One series cannot simply ruin a new batsmen's career, especially when the series before he did very well and the present series was only just two tests.

In the warm ups, he has faced every single one of our bowlers and evidently did more than enough for selection, but of course the whims of selectors have always been of more significance than logic. The finality and restrictiveness of that assertion leaves no back ups, so what happens if either root or bairstow fails? Is Compton meant to just come in seamlessly after being dumped ignominiously?

Posted by Pyketts on (July 4, 2013, 1:11 GMT)

Compton has been treated as he deserved by the selectors as the balance of the side doesn't work with him in it. Nothing against the guy as he is a decent county players and a back up if Cook gets injured but nothing more.

I agree with the Bairstow comments but I'd rather have Taylor in than Compton opening the batting in a negative opening partnership with Cook.

@ yunaimin, I can only assume you're joking because if not I'm worried for your mental health.

Posted by KenyaDigIt on (July 4, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

Get King Bopara in at 6! :P

Posted by Meety on (July 3, 2013, 23:57 GMT)

Feel sorry for Compton. Opener shouldn't be an easy position - they are essentially dropping a bloke who averages 31 in Tests, for another bloke (Bairstow) who averages 31. I know that this is really the KP effect, but I would imagine that KP's return should of seen Bairstow warming the bench. Now England have an unproven opener in Root for the Ashes - yes he has done well in 6 tests, but that was in the middle order. I don't know how England could muddle things up so much - they have their "formulae" why not stick to it? England are playing (IMO) a high risk gamble on Root, if it pays off (no reason why it can't as his County form opening this season has been sensational), but IF it fails - they could set the bloke back about 3 years (ala Taylor). England's batting has been underpinned by 4 players Cook, Trott, KP & Bell - then having Prior @ #7, they have fiddled with the other two posiitons & it really looked like they got it right with Root. They risk being back at square 1!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 3, 2013, 23:46 GMT)

Looking at the cumulative averages of these 3 players is something of an eye opener.

Joe Root after 6 matches: 424 runs, HS 104, ave 42.4. Compton after 6 matches: 425 runs, HS 117, ave 47.22. Bairstow after 6 matches: 205 runs, HS 95, ave 25.62.

Compton after 8 matches: 471 runs, HS 117, ave 36.23. Bairstow after 8 matches: 341 runs, HS 95, ave 31.00.

At the equivalent stages of their careers, Compton & Root are light years ahead of Bairstow, neither of whom opened.

In the matches Bell and Compton have played together, Compton scored 420 runs, not out once. Bell scored 398, not out 3 times.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 23:42 GMT)

Root is a talent no doubt but the cook Compton partnership consistently provided a platform for the middle and lower order to build big totals. Tests are 5 days remember and wearing down the opposition is a big part of pushing for the win. Bairstow at 6 will be a surprise if it comes off in any meaningful way. Having said that there s every chance it will work out but it reeks of "we tried the county cricketer but just had to go back to the guys permanently around the England structure"

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 23:29 GMT)

Nick, from the sound bites on CricInfo page, you sound frustrated. Bud, play it cool. One can never win a battle questioning the boss [Miller, Flower, et al]. Bite the bullet get back to County Cricket and start scoring runs. Practically, that is the only thing you can do, no more no less. You are fortunate you have pedigree on your side. That is a big plus. Stranger things than injury on the morning of a test match have happened. Stay calm AND SCORE. Good luck.

Posted by Stumay on (July 3, 2013, 22:36 GMT)

England never really fancied him. No matter what he did, they would have cast him aside once Root fluttered his eyelashes. Considering how many chances Collingwood had to flounder and flop or how they stuck by Cook so protectively a few years ago, Compton can feel somewhat let down. I fear he just doesn't fit the bill, he's just a county player in the eyes of the English management, summed up by sending James Whitaker- he of only one test- to watch and report on him.

Posted by SDHM on (July 3, 2013, 22:34 GMT)

@Partyman - I suggest you look at Bairstow's respective first class and limited overs records. You'd be surprised.

It's worth pointing out England did something very similar before the 2005 series - they dropped the experienced older head in Thorpe and brought in the young gun KP. Worked out all right then, and that was a much stronger Australia side. That said, I'd be pushing it if I said Bairstow was in the same class as KP. I think it's very harsh on Compton, but what I do find amazing is how anyone can seemingly doubt Root & Bairstow's mental toughness about what's ahead - Root has dealt with EVERYTHING thrown at him with aplomb so far, & when Jonny showed his mettle when he came back into a side that was in a mess against South Africa to face an onslaught from Steyn & Morkel. This idea that it's The Ashes and therefore too dangerous to push a young player in is exactly the sort of thinking that needs to be got rid of. South Africa are the new benchmark - and JB did just fine.

Posted by Dannymania on (July 3, 2013, 22:33 GMT)

Compton is undoudtedly a very good player but this type-up is beyond biased! I mean come on man! We arent talking about Brian Lara here! We're talking about Nick Compton. Its a straight forward comparison for me..Joe Root against Nick Compton.Who's better,we'ld all ask..The answer is definitely Joe Root.Only time will tell if its wrong,but right now i have no doubt in my mind that Joe Root is better.England have made the right decision.Compton is way too defensive to be playing international cricket for England,who are one of the best teams in the world right now...

Posted by RodStark on (July 3, 2013, 22:32 GMT)

The question is how long the stubborn England selectors will persevere with their decision. I don't have much faith in the two "risky" positions--Root opening and Bairstow playing at all. If it doesn't work, they may end up having to reshuffle the whole batting order. If they'd kept Compton and he didn't work out, they could simply replace him with someone like Carberry and leave everything else alone. There's still hope for Compton; he may well be part of the party for Australia in the winter, but I suspect that we're going to be stuck with this ill-judged (in my opinion) experiment for at least the first three tests of this series.

Posted by elsmallo on (July 3, 2013, 22:31 GMT)

I predict he will play in the series, though it seems clear he will now not start. Cook and Root have yet to open together in a full international and only a few months ago the pressure was on Root as he went through a fallow patch. He is clearly a very talented player and England should stick with him but it is likely that one of England's top six will struggle or become injured during the series and, should Compton continue to score, he deserves his chance. For me only Cook, Trott and Pietersen are undroppable. It's a brave call by Flower and the England selectors to drop Compton - at his best he could have provided some real steel at the top of the order and been a headache for Australia. Sadly, his form deserted him at the wrong time.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 3, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

Compton shd def be in... he has scored more runs than bell could even dream of in these warm ups.... keep compo, keep root where he was, keep JB and drop bell.... its a no brainer...

Posted by landl47 on (July 3, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

A poignant piece, but the fact is that Compton's a good journeyman cricketer who had a wonderful season in 2012. He's also 30 years old and while Mike Hussey showed that a test career begun at 30 can be a brilliant one, Hussey's record was far superior to Compton's and an exception rather than the rule.

England are putting in place the building blocks for the next 10 years, while the experienced and successful test cricketers are still around. In a less demanding environment, Compton would get a longer chance to play (he'd walk into the Australian team), but with young guns around his viability was always going to be limited. England has seen from the Australian experience what happens when all your best players retire together and they don't want to go there.

He did a very good job in his first two series, not so good in the third, and he has two test centuries to look back on. He might play again, but if he doesn't he can still say he was an England cricketer.

Posted by Sigismund on (July 3, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

It is dead tough on him for sure, but this was always coming from the moment they chickened out of asking Root to debut as an opener in India. That's the only reason he got picked then; the fear always was that he would stake a big claim by getting meaningless runs in NZ, and that's exactly what happened (2 hundreds, 0 wins). With Cook and Trott cemented in, there's no room for the steadiest Eddie around; too often England would bat themselves out of contention. Also, those three doing well together puts huge pressure on the middle order, who hate batting in lethargic circumstances; they end up playing rash shots and getting out cheaply. All the momentum goes to the opposition, and that's no good for a side looking to dominate the world. Hard call, but I doff my hat to the selectors for having the professional balls to make it. 10 years ago he would have been a shoe-in.

Posted by milepost on (July 3, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

He's a good player and I am surprised Andy Flower is picking an untested 20 something over him in an Ashes series that is no cakewalk for England. He has the runs and is sound. Great from my Aussie point if view, I think Root might find himself under some real pressure for the first time in his career. He might be up for it, who knows. I love Ashes cricket!

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 21:35 GMT)

I don't get what the problem is here. The selectors have backed their judgement and gone with Root, which they're perfectly entitled to do. Speaking personally I agree with the view that a top order of Compton, Cook, Trott, and even Bell, doesn't quite have the oomph needed. They want to get Bairstow into the middle order and Compton, sadly for him, is the one to make way.

If Root fails - and that's a big if considering the lack of experience in the Aussie attack - then they can always go back to Compton. If we go one or two up in the series then we may elect to protect that lead with a more cautious approach, which could let Compton back in.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

If (and it remains if) Compton's no part of the ashes plans he's been shabbily treated. Bell gets life after life, and he shows flashes of reasons to repay this faith, to be fair. Compton's junked after doing relatively little wrong and it's just fine.Poor show.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 3, 2013, 21:29 GMT)

Is it just me thinking this?

What was actually the point in Eng asking Nick to play for Worcs?

What I mean by this is that Root has failed twice in this match and so has Jonny and Nick has scored 50s twice in 3 inns against better bowling. So I'm wondering how much more would Nick have had to have done and how much worse the 2 Yorkies would have had to have done for Nick to have got the call.What scenario would have had to have happened? And I'm not saying he should get the call but why give him false hope if it's a closed shop? Personally , I think he has been treated shoddily but he knows he's appreciated back at Somerset. I shouldn't be saying this but I think I'm starting to go off England and as it stands (with the way I feel we've gone about things and the way our media has totally dismissed Australia) I wouldn't be that upset if the Aussies sprung a surprise. Maybe I'll revert once it all starts and the juices start flowing

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

The article rather misses that at point that at Headingley he managed to bat like a man whose career depended on the innings despite the fact there was no pressure on him at all. He'd done the hard work in the winter and just had to go and whack it in a declaration slog. It was pretty indicative of a man without the temprament for international cricket. Which given that he certainly doesn't have the technique must have made his omission quite a straightforward decision.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 3, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

@H_Z_O on (July 3, 2013, 19:53 GMT) TBH Jonny is no more of a worry to me than any of our number six batsmen and Bell still isn't convincing me.

@maximum6 on (July 3, 2013, 20:02 GMT) England new what sort of player Nick was when they picked him. If a pedestrian SR was a problem they should never have given him a chance - esp with 3 other plodders in the top 4 (when KP was absent)

Posted by Partyman on (July 3, 2013, 20:47 GMT)

Also, Bairstow is a proper limited over batsman and he does not get a place in the limited overs team! But he is selected ahead in the test team ahead of a proper classical test match batsman!!! It is all bizarre. Believe England thinking is getting clouded and confused as much as Aussies are getting enlightened. Oh dear, doesn't look too promising.........

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (July 3, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

I fear that the selectors have painted themselves into a corner here. The Australians may see Compton as a weak link to attack, but I am far from convinced that Compton opening and Root at 6 would score fewer runs together than Root opening and Bairstow at 6. Compton was told to make runs and has... lots of them, mostly against good attacks. Another score in the second innings and you would have to wonder if he can be left out (Joe Root made fewer in his two innings combined than Nick Compton has score in either of his last two innings v Australia).

Australia are looking seriously useful in their warm-ups. The bookies still have them as rank outsiders in the 1st Test, but they are far from the disorganised rabble of India (at least, that was the impression that they gave to outsiders). We will see next week if that is good enough.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 20:05 GMT)

Compton is certainly first cab of the rank and i also don't agree with the way he has been treated. I don't mind Root opening but in a toss up between Bairstow and Compton he is the only winner.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (July 3, 2013, 20:02 GMT)

If he bothered with scoring runs he might still have his Test spot. As it is his imitations of Tavare were thankfully out of favour with the right. If you spend so long scoring 12 as he did on more than one occasion you become a complete bore. He is to my mind self obsessed and selfish and not really a guy I want to see around the England side. I could believe the Australians are trying to get him picked as he is so boring and not a team man at all.

Posted by   on (July 3, 2013, 19:58 GMT)

Shoddy treatment of Compton, who deserves better. Think of all the many many chances afforded Bopara and particularly Bell. The latter repaid the faith in the end. Compton should be given a longer run. Bairstow I would hesistate to call a Test batsman. Root... I just fear will flop in the Ashes under the sheer weight of media hype. We shall see. Definitely think the Aussies will be happy not to have to bowl to Compton on English wickets where he's made a ton of runs.

Posted by Tigrillo on (July 3, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

He should be playing in the Ashes!

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 3, 2013, 19:53 GMT)

Have to agree with David here. It may be a warm-up, the Aussie quicks may not be bowling as well as they can, but they'll know that if they don't bowl as well as they can, he's capable of seeing them off.

The other thing that few are mentioning is how they'd feel about Root at 6. They'll have seen what he can do at 5, and with Prior in at 7 they'll know that even if they get Cook, Trott and KP out, that's nowhere near job over. Does Bairstow at 6 worry them as much? He may prove them wrong, but it'll certainly give them confidence.

Posted by CaliforniasFinest on (July 3, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

I do not understand the focus of the narrative as being Root vs Compton. Instead,it should be Bairstow v Compton since Bairstow is getting Compton's spot in the XI with Root opening. Considering Bairstow has looked awful lately, even worse than Root opening in Ashes preparation fixtures. Given, that Australia's strength is their pace bowling attack, in helpful English conditions, it seems reasonable that given anything more English than the subcontinental pitches from the Champion's trophy, Compton is a way better option as an opener, and Root a much better option than Bairstow.

Posted by yunaimin on (July 3, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

It's tough for Compton to hear that he is not merely dropped, but out of the picture altogether. But I have faith that this is just a move to psych the Aussies out - and after two or three Tests, by which time Bell or Bairstow will have flopped, out strides the run machine Compton to snuff out any Aussie hope. That said, his 79 was against a definitively second-string Australian attack. Perhaps both sides are playing their cards close to their chests. Intriguing.

Posted by whiffdog on (July 3, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

Isn't this is all just a little bit melodramatic as surely Compton has done enough to make himself first reserve so must have a very good chance of playing some part in the Ashes series.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (July 3, 2013, 19:32 GMT)

If anything the door is still open for Compton especially with Bairstows comparatively poor showing in this game, so I can see the batting line up for the first test being Cook, Compton, Trott, KP, Bell, Root, and Prior.

As an alternative you could switch Compton and Root round such that Compton comes in at 6, which might be better for him as it will give him more freedom than opening the innings and he's likely to be facing a new ball.

At the end of the day England had an opportunity to give 7 batsmen a chance to show thier mettle, rather than 6 which is what would have happened if Compton had played for essex, on top of that hes got experience of facing the australian bowlers that will probably make up the bowling unit in the first test.

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
Tour Results
England v Australia at Southampton - Sep 16, 2013
Australia won by 49 runs
England v Australia at Cardiff - Sep 14, 2013
England won by 3 wickets (with 3 balls remaining)
England v Australia at Birmingham - Sep 11, 2013
No result
England v Australia at Manchester - Sep 8, 2013
Australia won by 88 runs
England v Australia at Leeds - Sep 6, 2013
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
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