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Nick Compton, born on June 26, 1983 has been a prolific run-getter in the domestic circuit, and has notched up two Test tons for England. Bharath Ramaraj looks at a career that hasn’t quite taken off yet.
More than six decades ago, Great Britain was going through troubled times. All the bloodshed of World War II had left the country in a state of depression. Britain needed a spark to lift the sagging spirits. Almost from nowhere, Denis Compton, with his bewitching blade, reigned supreme and became a messiah of a nation that was going through hard times. In fact, with his dazzling stroke-play, he frequently brought a sense of catharsis to the general public.
If Denis’ batting was made up of unadulterated genius, his grandson Nick Compton has built his game on method. Possibly, thousands of fans won’t flock into the stadium to watch Nick Compton’s prosaic skills. On those rare occasions when he essays a boundary, rarely do you see the crowd rejoice with unfettered celebration. However, by brushing away all those thorny bushes that have acted a hurdle in his career, Compton Jr has carved a niche for himself in the domestic circuit and notched up two impressive Test tons for England along the way.
It was in 2012-13 when Compton made his Test debut against India at Ahmadabad. Compton had modest returns in a game where England were thrashed. Yet, the determination and courage he showed in the second innings in times of adversity to compile a knock of 37 gave a feeling that he could succeed at the higher echelons of the game.
In the following series against New Zealand, Compton made his first century in Tests. He seemed to be cajoling his willow to find the gaps in the field and his willow obliged the master, as Compton compiled a fine knock of 117. It also helped England escape an embarrassing defeat. He went one step better by scoring another century at Wellington in the second Test.
The critics though, weren’t impressed. They seemed to be gunning for Compton’s place. He struggled against New Zealand during their return-leg tour of England. His tendency to get struck at the crease without rotating the strike didn’t impress England’s then coach Andy Flower for sure. It was forgotten that he played with a bruised rib and fractured finger, and Compton was dropped for the Ashes series 2013.
Despite Compton’s dreams of playing in the Ashes biting the dust, the hard-working cricketer hasn’t given up. During this season’s County Championship game played between Durham and Somerset on a tricky Chester-le-Street wicket, Compton ploughed his way to a fine hundred.
Actually, it has never been easy for the quiet and unassuming cricketer. He left Middlesex in 2009 to join Somerset. During that season, Compton averaged just 8.50. But since then, with hard work, he has taken baby steps to reach the summit of success. In 2011, Compton averaged 56.11 for Somerset, and in 2012 Compton went on to touch stratospheric peaks by amassing 1,191 runs at 99.25. Compton has admitted that Neil Burns, former Somerset wicketkeeper, has helped him to improve his batting.
Here is a cricketer who comes from a rich cricketing lineage (his father Richard and uncle Patrick too played First-Class cricket). Despite all that, he has had to stretch every sinew to make his way into the England setup. Make no mistake, despite finding himself in the wilderness right now, that intense fire to represent his country again would be burning in his belly.
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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