South African born and raised until his early teens, Nick Compton has been given permission to switch county sides in order to gain vital first-class practise against Australia ahead of the Ashes later next month.
The opener lost his place in the Test squad after disappointing outings against New Zealand this spring, England selectors instead opting for Joe Root alongside captain Alastair Cook.
With Compton out of the Test scene he quickly headed back to Somerset and hit a neat 81 in his first display against a touring Australia side. That innings proved to cricket betting pundits that Compton hasn’t lost his batting confidence and thankfully for England he’s been allowed a transfer to Worcestershire next week, to again face the Aussies.
In earning two practice matches against Australia before the Ashes, Compton has a great advantage over his batting rival for a place in the starting XI at Trent Bridge.
Root is his main adversary and almost certain to earn the call, but much relies on the Yorkshireman impressing during England’s warm-up with Essex this weekend. Even if Root does hit a century or two, he won’t have direct experience facing Australia’s bowling attack until that first delivery on 10 July.
Compton, meanwhile, will now receive two matches worth of experience against England’s opponents and that could sway a selection in his favour. It is gratifying to see the counties working so well together to ensure their England internationals are as prepared for Australia and even if Compton misses out on the first Test the competition will keep Root on his toes.
England are favourites in the cricket betting odds to win the Ashes this summer but they must not let that status lead to complacency. The team suffered that ignominy against South Africa last year and when touring New Zealand this spring, two Test results that proved how fragile the top order can be when lacking competition.