Compton eyes t20 redemption
Somerset batsman Nick Compton has revealed his side are “desperate” to gain revenge over semi-final opponents Hampshire as they prepare for Friends Life t20 finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Dominic Cork’s side lifted the trophy last year after the narrowest of victories over Somerset, but Compton is convinced things will be different this year.
“We’re desperate to beat them,” he tol ecb.co.uk. “We want that victory badly and sometimes the team that wants it more might just have a bit of luck and things might go their way.
“We’ve got match-winners in every position and it’s all about performing on Saturday and I know if we do that then we’ve got a very good chance.”
Hampshire have also had the upper hand over Somerset in this year’s campaign and defeated their rivals by seven wickets at the Rose Bowl during the group stage before the return fixture at Taunton was washed out.
Compton, however, believes recent defeats to Hampshire have stood Somerset in good stead for the rematch.
“They’ve had the rub of the green in the last couple of fixtures but we know what the make-up of their team is likely to be,” he continued.
“They’ve got three very, very good spinners - world-class spinners almost (Imran Tahir, Shahid Afridi and Danny Briggs) - and we know where their strength is.
“I think we can go into the game in the semi-final knowing what we’re up against and just give it all. In a way, it’s nice playing Hampshire in the semi-final because if we beat them then we’ve got a really, really good chance.”
Saturday’s showpiece event is destined to be a big day for Compton personally as he looks to put last year’s disappointment of not making the team behind him and help Somerset avenge that defeat.
“I was in the 12 last year but I just missed out at the end; I was 12th man so I was disappointed with that,” he explained.
The South Africa-born batsman has hardly featured in Twenty20 for Somerset this season but did manage 37 from 39 balls in his only innings of the summer - defeat to Hampshire at the beginning of June - and remains focused for finals day.
He continued: “It’s a huge day for the club for the third year running and a much-anticipated day for the club as we try to win that elusive trophy.
“It’s a finals day; it’s another game; it’s another day to prepare for. It would be silly of me to go into the day planning on not playing when there’s always a good chance that something might happen - an injury or whether they decide they want to bring me in.
“I do feel I should play and I feel that I have an important role to play if they decide to go with me, but of course I will respect what the management decide."
Compton also recognises the excitement that finals day brings but is insistent that Somerset will not get too caught up in the occasion.
“The atmosphere has always been good. It’s a fantastic day but the challenge really is to treat it as another day,” he added.
“Controlling your emotions and getting the best out of individuals is the best way to go about it. If you build it up too much younger players - even senior players - can get over-excited and get a little bit too anxious and it can all be too much.
“It’s another Twenty20 game and you’ve got to execute your skills when you get the chance. The best teams are the ones that do the boring things well - that’s what we’re going to try and do this time.
“We’ve had the excitement and we’ve felt it in the last two years and now’s the time to get the job done.”
With a squad full of big-hitting batsmen such as captain Marcus Trescothick, Craig Kieswetter and West Indian Kieron Pollard, Compton says Somerset are happy to take the title of favourites, although he does not see it as particularly important.
"I think it’s irrelevant if I’m honest," he said. "Perhaps if it was one-day cricket, or the four-days there’d be a little bit more emphasis on it, but in Twenty20 cricket whether you’re the favourites or not I don’t think it makes any difference because it’s so fast-paced, it’s so inconsistent and there are a lot of variables on the day.
“We’ll take the tag - that’s fine - but when it comes to walking out on that pitch all we’re going to be thinking about is each person trying to play their particular role and see where we are at the end of the day.
“We’ve had that tag for the whole year and it is a difficult tag to have, but I think as soon as we’ve gone down to business we’ve played very well this year.”