England’s treatment of Nick Compton a flashback to the lost generation of the 1990s (via The Sideline Agenda)

I’m a son of the 1990s. When jumpers were to be exceptionally baggy; hair to be centre parted and preferably covered in styling gel; pop music to veer from the horribly commercial (Britney Spears), to the gloriously independent (Pavement). Another staple of the last decade of the second millennium was the masterful selectorial gaffes of the English cricket team’s selectors.

The extravagant talents of Graeme Hick, Mark Ramprakash and John Crawley were squandered by woeful mis-management and careless, short-sighted selection. Though this lost generation of cricketers cannot wholly be the responsibility of the selectors’ shortcomings, continuous droppings and re-calls clearly did nothing for these players’ sense of security. Imagine the strength of a three-four-five of Hick, Ramprakash and Crawley: all comfortable in their roles and mentally secure. Such power in the middle-order could have re-written history, and England cricket fans might not have such a sadistic sense of self-schadenfreude in guiltily enjoying the classic ‘90s batting collapse (as Rob Smyth wrote about humorously in the first issue of The Nightwatchman).

The 2000s brought central contracts and a new age of selectorial consistency. By the 2005 Ashes series, England’s XI had become so set in stone, such a model of consistency, that millions nationwide would have been able to run through that glorious team sheet: …K.Pietersen, A.Flintoff, G.Jones…

We thought we had left behind the world of murky team meetings rife with disagreement, surprise visits from the team manager and captain in the dead of night, the stern rap on the hotel room door. Barring a brief interlude (titled: Peter Moores) which brought us Amjad Khan and Darren Pattinson, this solidity and continuity in selection became gospel under  Andy Flower. Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Paul Collingwood and others, have all been given the selectors’ endorsement and more chances to recover form than they possibly deserved.

But of late, the treatment of certain players is beginning to baffle those outside of the England bubble. Nick Compton has been dropped from England’s only warm-up game, just a week before the Ashes; this decision seems to have ruled him out from the first Test at the very least.

I think Lady Kitty Spencer (the OTHER blonde) might have a tough task in keeping Compton happy. Yeah, right.

I think Lady Kitty Spencer (the OTHER blonde) might have a tough task in keeping Compton happy. Yeah, right.

Nick Compton is a man who scored consecutive Test centuries only three Tests ago; and two of the Test matches since his last century have occurred among poor batting displays from the team as a whole. Joe Root has been promoted ahead of Compton (as stated by Geoff Miller himself) to open alongside Cook. Now as impressive as Joe Root is (and by Jove, this boy is the future), does he need to adapt to opening in Test match cricket as England’s biggest six months in years begins? Compton himself has subsequently scored a century and two half-centuries in first-class cricket since his last Test match appearance, one of those being a fine 81 AGAINST the Australians. At the very least Compton deserved two Ashes Tests, but instead, the selectors have gone against their dictum of continuity.

James Taylor is another who has put the hard graft in and scored heavily and consistently. Yet he remains on the fringes, seemingly behind Jonny Bairstow (yet to really impress at all in international cricket, and possessive of a poor technique against spin AND high class fast bowling) and Eoin Morgan (where questions marks must still remain over his commitment to Test cricket). For Taylor to not even secure a place on the Indian tour late last year, after battling manfully against the best attack in world cricket was a disaster, especially as Samit Patel was the man who had nominally replaced him. James Taylor averages just shy of 50 over a period of 93 first-class games, He clearly is a serious player; whatever England have against him has to go. This prejudice against him is baffling.

How long can England ignore a man who has such a fine record?

How long can England ignore a man who has such a fine record?

Let’s just hope that unlike the music and television shows, there is to be no reformation or comeback of England’s selectorial woes from the 1990s.

First published on The Sideline Agenda site (http://thesidelineagenda.com/), a website I now write for. This version of the article is un-edited and has been augmented slightly (or to put it simply, far messier).
Original article: http://thesidelineagenda.com/2013/06/27/englands-treatment-nick-compton-flashback-lost-generation-1990s/

 

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5 Responses to England’s treatment of Nick Compton a flashback to the lost generation of the 1990s (via The Sideline Agenda)

  1. fallsound says:

    That’s a great, insightful article.
    Keep up the good work!
    T.

  2. backwatersman says:

    I think you’re quite right about Taylor (particularly the baffling decision not to take him to India) – but – assuming they want to play Root at all – isn’t the only way to fit Taylor (or Bairstow, or whoever) in to open with Root and leave a space at no. 6? I don’t think there’s any doubt that Compton can perform reasonably at Test level, but – given the number of England players in the same (30-34?) age group who will be retiring at about the same time – would it not be better to take the opportunity to introduce some younger players now, particularly if – like Root and Taylor – they’re better players than Compton already?

    • Hi, thanks for taking the time to read my article and comment.

      I definitely think that James Taylor has to be part of England’s future, and hopefully as soon as possible. First off, I think Taylor – though he plays 3 at FC level – is a tailor made fit for a Test number 5, or 6. I think Cook has at least six more years in him opening the batting. I also think that Root is a future England opener. So I would personally write Taylor out of the opening spot at all, and would also consider one of the two slots to be comfortably filled by Cook. I think there are only two batting slots to fill for England over the next twelve months: an opener and a number six.

      Now Compton has my endorsement to open, because I believe he has earned that opportunity and has the character to succeed. I don’t think he could be an England opener for long, perhaps 3 years at the upper limit, but I think for these next twelve months at least, he should be the man. Just as Australia have brought back Brad Haddin seemingly for these next six months alone.

      You do put your argument across well, and I concede, seeing a 22 year old opening is preferable to a 30 year old, I’m just a bit of a Compton fan.

      What is undoubted is that Bairstow should not be the man at 6. I would have James Taylor, Nick Compton (I initially argued for Root to open, Compton in a Collingwood-esque role at 6, before they both made their debuts in an earlier blog post written in October) and even Ravi Bopara ahead of him currently.

      Thanks,

      James

  3. susan says:

    nick has a fabulous georgeous woman kitty

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