Compton hungry for more
Nick Compton has used the disappointment of being dismissed for 99 as motivation to keep churning out runs for Somerset.
The 28-year-old South-African-born right-hander has enjoyed a phenomenal start to the English domestic season, hitting 685 runs in four first-class matches at an average of 137.
Number three Compton compiled a double century against Cardiff MCCU as he warmed up for the first game of the LV= County Championship season against Middlesex, but he suffered heartbreak against his former employers as he was dismissed one short of three figures by Toby Roland-Jones.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Compton showed the hunger and determination to get over that disappointment by following up his first century of the county season against Warwickshire with a double ton at Trent Bridge last week.
“It was against my old county, there was a lot of family history and it was the first game of the season so I had a lot of time to think about it over the winter and build up for it,” Compton told ecb.co.uk.
“I was very keen to try and stamp my authority on that game and spend some time out there. I was furious to get out on 99 but, from a team point of view, it was a job well done.
“Craig (Kieswetter) and I put on a good partnership that really set the game up, which was great. It would have been great (to get three figures) but in the next game I thought ‘Don’t lose your hunger now, you got 99 in the last innings, go one better this game, get that hundred and get it now’.
“That is my desire and hunger and I was really keen to get my head down, that was a definite motivating factor. You can never have enough runs; lots of great players of the past have said that.
“Geoff Boycott said that and I think that has helped me. When you get to a hundred, it’s so easy to throw it away and think ‘I’ve got a hundred now I am going to play a few shots’.
“You suddenly remember at the back of your mind runs are hard to come by at this time of year. If you are on 100, it’s easier than when you are on zero.”
With so many batsmen struggling to negotiate the moving ball this early in the season, an enthusiastic Compton has so far successfully worked out a formula to keep the Division One bowlers at bay.
“Three things that come to mind is a real desire and hunger and the need to want more runs. Just to not give into yourself and keep pushing on,” he said.
“The role for me at Somerset has been clearly defined as someone who can hold things together because I have a lot of stroke players either side of me.
“The more time I spend out there, of course it gets easier, gives us a greater platform as a team to get those big first and second innings totals. I try to play straight, play the ball late and leave well. If you stay with those you can’t go too far wrong.
“The modern day game has moved forward in terms of Twenty20 cricket and players are very keen to put bat on ball, but if you search for runs at this time of the year and you try to score quickly or look for bad balls, you can find yourself getting in trouble.
“It’s about playing each ball completely on merit and really trying to have a lot of patience and discipline. I have really tried to stick to those qualities; patience, discipline and single-minded attempts at being emotionally calm at the crease.
“I think that has been the major thing that has changed for me this year and over the winter; I have tried to work really hard to be as mentally hard and grounded as I can.”
It’s not just Compton that has shown early-season form at Somerset, whose batting line-up has been depleted this week due to the loss of injured captain Marcus Trescothick.
Former England Lions skipper James Hildreth has a double century and ton to his name, opening batsman Arul Suppiah has struck a hundred and England limited-overs internationals Kieswetter and Jos Buttler have both registered a fifty.
Despite leading the run charts, Compton was quick to share the praise with his fellow batsmen.
“I’ve got to be honest I thought Arul’s innings at Trent Bridge was one of the best hundreds I have seen for a long time because of the fact that Marcus fell down injured and Arul suddenly became the senior opening partner,” he added.
“That was a big statement from him more than anything, the way he played was fantastic. To have someone like that who seems to be in good shape gives you a huge amount of confidence.
“Craig Kieswetter hasn’t had too many opportunities, but has been in good form this pre-season. It’s a funny game, when everyone’s in form, the game goes well.
“At the moment, touch wood, all of the guys look in good order and that bodes well for the next games.”