Selection a dream come true - Compton
Nick Compton is understandably relishing the prospect of “fulfilling a lifelong ambition” after being included in England’s 16-man party to tour India this winter.
The Somerset batsman scored runs galore this season, narrowly missing out on becoming the first man for 24 years to reach 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May.
Yet that did not detract from a stellar four-day campaign, in which Compton struck a total of 1,494 runs, 1,191 of which came in Division One of the LV= County Championship.
That has now been capped by an opportunity to secure full international honours, with Compton looking to follow in the footsteps his grandfather and England great, Denis, by impressing.
“It’s hard to describe,” he told ecb.co.uk. “It is really overwhelming but I am over the moon. It’s something I have worked towards for a long time. I’m happy for my family and everyone that has contributed to my success.
“It’s been a lifelong ambition to be a top Test match batsman. Getting a call-up to the squad is a great start but I want to set my sights on contributing and being an asset to Alastair Cook’s Test team.
“I’m proud of the way I've managed to become a good starter to an innings. I have had very few innings where I haven’t scored runs. As a top-order batsman that’s what you are looking for, that level of consistency.
“Every sportsman has a journey and a story to tell. I feel that I have worked particularly hard over the last two of three years on developing a world-class defence and putting myself under a lot of pressure in practice.”
Compton did not answer the call from national selector Geoff Miller as he did not recognise the number - only to ring back and receive the good news.
“I found out yesterday morning,” he admitted. “I was walking to the gym when I got a call
from Geoff Miller. I didn't recognise his number as I don't have it saved on my phone.
“I actually didn't answer it at first but then called back and he said 'sorry, I've got a missed call from you' and he said 'Hi Nick, it's Geoff Miller'. Suddenly the butterflies started as I had a feeling what he might be calling about.
“He asked if I was sitting down - I said I was but I wasn't really - and then told me the news. He said congratulations and that I deserved it. I was delighted to get the call.
“I was a little anxious but now I'm quite relaxed. I will enjoy the moment and there are things to look forward to.”
The challenge of batting in India is one that has proved notoriously difficult for English players; the spin-friendly conditions are in stark contrast to what is experienced on these shores.
But, much like other modern cricketers of his ilk, Compton is already well acclimatised to various conditions and sees no reason why he should not succeed on the sub-continent.
“I will go to India full of confidence,” he added. “The nature of my success this year has been built on taking each ball and each game at a time and I will stay true to that. I won't be doing anything differently in India.
“I'm not going to go there and play like someone else. I believe in keeping the game as simple as possible. Of course there will be more distractions and things to experience but I am very much looking forward to being on the international stage.
“It’s another challenge but a fantastic chapter in my life. I’ve been to India four or five times, including in the Champions League with Somerset last year, so I know what it's like to play in front of big crowds out there.
“I have been to training camps in India with the ECB and my respective counties so I feel I have a good understanding of what I am up against. I also love travelling and the heat so I am excited about getting out there.
“(It's about taking things) one step at a time. Getting on the tour is a start but it’s another challenge to get a place in the starting XI. If I get a chance then it will be a fantastic moment but hopefully I can contribute to the team.”