Compton up for Middlesex challenge

Nick Compton of Middlesex celebrates scoring a century against Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Nick Compton of Middlesex celebrates scoring a century against Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Middlsex batmsan Nick Compton is counting down the days until Sunday, when the former England batsman’s season comes out of month’s mid-summer hibernation. “I’ve had just one innings in more than four weeks – so it will be a challenge!” he said, ahead of the defending champions’ Specsavers County Championship match against Warwickshire at Lord’s.

Surplus to Middlesex’s NatWest T20 Blast requirements, the 34-year-old Compton has found himself on the sidelines since Middlesex beat Warwickshire in a one-wicket thriller at Edgbaston in their last championship outing, in the first week of July.

Last pair Tim Murtagh and Tom Helm made the seven runs needed to clinch a victory which revived Middlesex’s hopes of successfully defending their title.

Since then, Compton has tried to net and train as much as possible. He was in the Lord’s nets again, facing a red ball of course, before Middlesex’s T20 Blast defeat against Hampshire this week and will join the championship squad for final preparation tomorrow (Saturday) ahead of the Warwickshire game.

It has, however, been a difficult time and Compton said: “At least I have lots of experience to help me to deal with the situation. It’s frustrating because, when the break in championship cricket came, I was beginning to get some runs and feel good about my game.

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“I’ve gone through my drills and done my practice, but nothing is comparable to match intensity. I played in one Middlesex Second XI red ball match, a three-day game against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl a week or so back, but I only got three in my only innings and it also rained, which was not ideal.

“I’ve opted not to play any club cricket, because I’m not sure it would have given me the right type of match practice.”

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Compton scored 33 and 49 in Middlesex’s win at Warwickshire a month ago and, in the previous match, against Essex at Chelmsford, made 120.

After missing the start of the four-day season in April through injury, he has actually only appeared in five championship games so far this summer, totalling 285 runs from eight innings at an average of 35.62.

It has, indeed, been a strange sort of season so far for a man with more than 11,500 first-class runs to his name and who made the last of his 16 Test appearances for England in June last year.

Middlesex, meanwhile, with two wins from eight matches, lie in fifth place in Division One with 94 points – trailing leaders Essex by a sizeable 44 points but only 15 points behind Lancashire, who are second.

Another win against bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire would certainly get Middlesex supporters talking more excitedly about the chances of back-to-back titles.

“We were not far off being in this sort of position at this time last year,” added Compton.

“We then went on a bit of a run of victories, so it’s possible that could happen again. But, to be able to do that, we need to play some better cricket – and, in particular, more consistent cricket – and, as a team, we must be more consistent in this last part of the championship season.”

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