Nick Compton believes that the ECB restructuring announced this week has improved his chances of returning to the England team in time for this summer’s Ashes series.
The 31-year-old was dumped on the eve of England’s last home Ashes campaign two years ago but after the axing of managing director Paul Downton, he now feels that a recall is more realistic than at any point over the past two years.
“I think now people seem to be being more real”, Compton told Deep Extra Cover. “At times in sport you paper over issues that haven’t been good enough and they’ll want to put that right. The only way to do that in my own personal experience is to be honest with yourself – ask where are things right now and what needs to be done next.
“Hopefully there is a blank canvas and if you do well, you put your hand up, and the selectors like what they see then hopefully I’ll repeat what I did in 2013.”
England won the 2013 Ashes 3-0 with Joe Root at the top of the order in Compton’s place but the celebrations were cut short in Australia the following winter as all of the batsmen struggled against a pace attack rejuvenated by Mitchell Johnson’s return to form. Compton considers himself well placed to counter the threat posed by Johnson et al. this summer.
“I believe that if I’m playing good cricket I should be in that side”
“There are some tough series coming up and as someone who prides himself on playing quick bowling I would hope that I am in the selectors’ thoughts because that’s something I feel I do well.”
After five seasons at Somerset, Compton has returned to Middlesex, his first county and the county his grandfather Denis scored 67 centuries for between 1936 and 1958. He is willing to admit that the decision to move back to the capital was as much personal as it was cricketing.
“I had my base here – my friends and my girlfriend. I also just needed a bit of a refreshing change. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Somerset and obviously owe a great amount to them for where I’ve come in my professional career but in terms of moving things on a bit and looking at my life after cricket London offers a lot more. Your life outside of cricket is also important.”
When Compton left Middlesex at the end of 2009 the club was only just starting to emerge from a period of turmoil. Bitter off-field infighting had seen three coaches depart in four years whilst on the field they had only narrowly avoided the Division Two wooden spoon. Now, despite a disappointing 2013, the environment is very different.
“Firstly and foremost you need good people and Middlesex have some good people”, Compton said. “Gus [Angus Fraser] is a top man, there’s some really good guys here, a good nucleus of a squad and they all get on well.
“That’s one thing on the surface and the challenge is to make it a competitive environment, to hopefully keep challenging for honours. That’s going to be the real challenge to make us tougher – Adam Voges and Franko [James Franklin] and what have you will help and hopefully I can do a bit of that myself. Chris Rogers scored a lot of runs, had a lot of strength of character and held things together. This team needs that and hopefully some of the other players can go from strength-to-strength.”
Middlesex begin their campaign by hosting Nottinghamshire at Lord’s starting tomorrow.