Sunday 15 June 2014 

Comment - Compton Should Be England's Number Three

Nick Compton, here batting for Somerset
Nick Compton, here batting for Somerset
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Ever since England lost Jonathan Trott to a stress-related illness during the last Ashes series in Australia, there has been an ongoing headache over who should take over the number three spot.

Many candidates have come and gone, but it seems that England are continuously looking past a potential answer to their prayers.
 
Nick Compton used to open for England and enjoyed a lot of success during the national team's tour of India in November-December 2012. During his maiden tour, Compton averaged 34.66 with the bat.

While this may not be an impressive figure to most people, they have to understand that conditions in India are almost opposite to that in England. India, unlike England, is renowned for its spin-friendly pitches and scorching heat, which makes it an intimidating and difficult place for a debut.
 
However, Compton's Test career skyrocketed during England's tour of New Zealand in February 2013. Compton not only averaged 46.40, but also scored two centuries, including his current career-best knock of 117, which came during the first Test in Dunedin.
 
Everything was going swimmingly for Compton until New Zealand toured England in May last year.

Compton struggled to score any runs with the bat and eventually, his runs started drying up at a drastic rate. By the end of the two-Test series, Compton had only managed to score 39 runs at a dismal average of 9.75. As a result of his disastrous series, he was dropped and subsequently hasn't been picked again.
 
However, England have to let bygones be bygones and give Compton another opportunity.

Here's why. Since England have already tried slotting Joe Root, Ian Bell and Gary Ballance at the number three spot, why aren't they allowing Compton to get his second shot? Granted that Compton is 30, he can still have a major impact coming in at one down for the next couple of years, or at least until Trott returns.
 
There are many reasons why Compton is the ideal candidate for the job. The first of which is that Root has scored the majority of his runs coming in at number five. I believe he is more useful a little further down the order as he is the perfect person to play the anchor role.
 
Secondly, after Kevin Pietersen's central contract was terminated, Bell made it clear that he wanted to take over the number four spot. Bell has tasted a lot of success at numerous positions and while he does have the credentials to be promoted to number three, he himself said that he feels more comfortable coming in at number four.
 
As of right now, England are letting Gary Ballance have a shot at becoming their next number three, but the one problem about their plan is that Ballance is more accustomed to coming in at number five since that is where he bats when playing county cricket for Yorkshire.

Ballance is still young and it would take him some time to familiarise himself with the responsibilities that come with being a number three batsman.
 
This is why Compton would be the best choice. Compton has experience on his side and has been batting at number three for Somerset throughout the ongoing county season. He has been excelling at the position after having scored 518 runs at an impressive average of 47.09.

In fact, in the nine County Championship matches he has played this year, Compton has already scored a century and two half-centuries.
 
England need to ensure that they don't concentrate on Compton's age and rather focus on his ability. Compton, who is the grandson of the legendary Denis Compton, has already shown flashes of his grandfather's brilliance, but with his own unique style.

England may have even unwittingly stumbled upon their own younger version of Chris Rogers. Rogers has been a major asset to Australia in the last two Ashes series despite his age and there is no reason why Compton cannot do the same for England.

Bimal Mirwani is a cricket writer and student at Kingston University. He tweets @BimalMirwani and you can read more of his work here.

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