Duo battling for Middlesex batting spots

Middlesex's Nick Compton (pic Richard Sellers/PA)

Middlesex's Nick Compton (pic Richard Sellers/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Eskinazi and Compton hope to face Surrey

Stephen Eskinazi and Nick Compton are fighting for a batting place in the Middlesex side for Friday’s keenly anticipated derby game against Surrey at the Kia Oval in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

The only change in the squad is the omission of Sam Robson, who injured a hamstring turning for a second run during the victory over Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday. It was Middlesex’s first win in three matches in the highly competitive South Group.

Head coach Richard Scott said: “We’ve played well so far. We got 340 against Sussex in the first game, and it rained, and then the match against Gloucestershire was close.

“We don’t feel we have the points tally that we deserve, but we played really well against Hampshire and now we’re looking forward to a local derby.

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“We’ve got international commitments with ‘Morgs’ and Finn away, and Paul Stirling. And we’ve got a couple of injuries too. But we can still put out a really strong side. We really do have good strength in depth.

“It was unfortunate on Robbo to get injured in the Hampshire game because he was playing well. And he wants to play more one-day cricket. We didn’t need that, and he didn’t need that. It was really bad luck.

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“We will look at the pitch at The Oval and and decide our team from there.”

Eskinazi hit a century for the second eleven at Southgate this week and has been in overpowering form with the bat.

He scored a championship century against Essex at Lord’s, but the ponderous pace of his innings arguably cost his side a maximum batting point.

In the second innings, though, he made 62 off 34 balls and his championship scores this season have been 82, 45, 100, and 62 at an average of 72.25.

Scott added: “When he hit Neil Wagner over the grandstand I asked him what happened the day before, when we were looking for that extra batting point.

“He showed a side of his game that not a lot of people have seen at Lord’s and we were all excited by that. He was aggressive, knew where he wanted to hit the ball and he hit it very well.”

Middlesex were once again encouraged by the form of Toby Roland-Jones in the win over Hampshire, and Scott added: “Toby has benefitted from a competitive Lions winter and he’s more or less a genuine all-rounder now.

“International honours can’t be far away because he’s so consistent, day in day out. If we can produce high-quality players who play for England, we can be proud of that.”

Middlesex: James Franklin (capt), Nick Compton, Stephen Eskinazi, James Fuller, Nick Gubbins, James Harris, Tom Helm, Ryan Higgins, Dawid Malan, Ravi Patel, Ollie Rayner, Toby Roland-Jones, John Simpson (wicket-keeper), Adam Voges.

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