By Callum Dent
Nick Compton is relishing the opportunity to lead by example as a youthful-looking Somerset squad target an improvement in this season’s LV= County Championship.
The 30-year-old batsman has become an integral player at Taunton since swapping Middlesex for Somerset in 2009, showing his class by passing 1,000 first-class runs in his last three seasons.
And with a number of youngsters expected to be involved in first-team affairs this term, the experienced Compton is determined to step up once more.
“I think the pressure has always been there for myself,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“That is one thing I have always had. It is nice to be a bit more senior and have that bit more responsibility of holding things together.
“I like to be the guy that can bat for a long time. I would like to continue that role wherever I bat.
“But it’s rewarding to do it in a team that has some young players coming through.
“Hopefully, if I keep playing the way I have been over the last three years, then we can build some strong scores.
“There are some good young players coming through, which is exciting.
“I have got my own ambitions but it has been good to get involved and be a part of other people’s development as well.
“As a more senior player, it is exciting to be a part of that.”
In Dave Nosworthy’s first season as director of cricket at Taunton, Somerset had to settle for a sixth-placed finish in the top flight after failing to emulate the previous year when they were runners-up.
However, after successfully adapting to a number of changes at the club during the winter, Compton insists Somerset are ready to hit the ground running.
“In terms of preparation, there has been a change of regime at the club and it takes time to react to that,” he said.
“The way the guys have applied themselves has been outstanding. I’m always sceptical of looking too far ahead. I think it is always better to say preparation has gone well, we have worked hard and we are fit and looking ready for the season.
“In terms of the way things have gone and the way the guys have stuck to the change and are trying to make a serious improvement, has been really pleasing.”
Nosworthy's side were dealt a huge blow in September when Jos Buttler, now at Division One rivals Lancashire, announced his departure.
Compton admits he was sad to see the England limited-overs wicketkeeper-batsman leave, but he expects another of the club’s promising youngsters, like Alex Barrow, to successfully step in and offer competition to gloveman Craig Kieswetter.
“He is a big loss. Like any team, when you lose someone of his x-factor and his ability, it is a shame,” he added.
“He is a Somerset lad and it is always sad to see anyone leave a club, but a guy who was born and bred in Somerset is sad.
“These things happen. Jos has done incredibly well and everyone is proud of him down here for what he has achieved. He has moved himself on. These things happen.
“But we have got some other young players who have got to step up and we will have to change our dynamics a little bit. Hopefully another young player can come in and do well in that role.”