Somerset cricket: Brian Rose delighted by Nick Compton's superb form
BRIAN Rose has hailed Nick Compton's remarkable start to the new season, as the Somerset batsman closes in on 700 first-class runs before the end of April.
Compton has scored 685 first-class runs this season, with 449 of those coming in Division One of the LV= County Championship, and is comfortably the leading run scorer in the land.
The 28-year-old is likely to be further relied upon over the coming weeks, with skipper Marcus Trescothick going under the knife for an operation on his damaged ankle tomorrow. And director of cricket Rose, himself a former top-order batsman for Somerset, has praised Compton's dedication and technique.
"We have discussed Nick's cricket a lot over the last two years – and Nick is such a deep thinker about his cricket," said Rose.
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"What we tried to do last winter was simplify his processes, both mentally and in terms of his role in the team.
"Nick is a very good straight player and we have been working with him to keep his processes simple – to bat up the ground and bat for a long time.
"On the wickets we have played on, you have to have good technique to bat for as long as he has, and the way he plays forward defensive and backward defensive is as good as I have seen. That is why you try not to elaborate too much on his game.
"It has worked very well and I am very pleased with him. The way he has started the season is so impressive – and has raised the question whether anybody has ever scored 600 first-class runs in April before.
"It is only the last few years that we have been playing so much cricket in April."
In his five matches this season, including a pre-season game against Glamorgan and first-class match against Cardiff MCCU, Compton has scored 100 not out, 236, 99, 133 and 204 not out.
Even those who dispute the credibility of the university sides' first-class status cannot argue with Compton's 449 Championship runs at 112.25. Rory Hamilton-Brown, the second highest Championship run-scorer, is 165 behind the Somerset man.
In first-class cricket, Compton is averaging 137, and his 685 runs put him 274 ahead of team-mate James Hildreth, the next highest run-scorer in the country.
With Trescothick ruled out, Hildreth will captain Somerset in their next Championship match, against Lancashire, which begins at Taunton tomorrow.
There is also an outside chance one of Somerset's England Under-19 pair, the twins Jamie and Craig Overton, could make a Championship debut for the club.
Somerset continue to monitor Steve Kirby's thigh injury, while Gemaal Hussain and Adam Dibble remain sidelined.
Rose said: "The Overton twins are back with us and I would consider playing one of them in this match. We have had good reports about them from the England Under-19s' recent trip to Australia and they are in contention."
Somerset, meanwhile, have reiterated their desire to host England internationals at Taunton in the future, having been alerted to Gloucestershire's ongoing ground issues.
Gloucestershire were awarded next year's one-day international against New Zealand on condition they secured planning permission for a £10 million overhaul of facilities at Nevil Road.
That application was rejected by Bristol city councillors, forcing the ECB to sound out an alternative venue.
Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender said: "We are midway though the technical assessment process by the Major Match Group, on behalf of the ECB, and that process will continue for a couple of month. It depends on the outcome of that, but in principle we would love to bid.
"Our stated ambition and aim is to bring international cricket to Taunton. There is an appetite in this area for international cricket."
Somerset look set to be without spinner George Dockrell for much of July and August after he was named in Ireland's provisional squad for the Under-19 World Cup in Australia.