Nick Compton: Middlesex and England batsman to take break from cricket

Nick Compton
Nick Compton averaged 12.75 in the recent Test series against Sri Lanka

Middlesex and England top-order batsman Nick Compton is taking an indefinite break from cricket.

A club statement said that after "a challenging start to the season, both physically and mentally" it had been agreed for Compton to take time away.

The right-hander, 32, scored just 51 runs in five innings during the recent Test series win against Sri Lanka.

Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser said Compton "makes a huge commitment to cricket".

Fraser, who is also an England selector, added that Compton "sets himself very high standards" and that "some time away from the game" would allow him to "refresh, recharge and return" to the game.

Style 'not that pretty'

South African-born Compton returned to England's Test side in December 2015 for the tour of South Africa following a two-and-a-half-year absence, which he described as "a second coming".

He scored 245 runs in eight innings at an average of 30.6 batting at number three but was not able to match that form against the touring Sri Lankans.

Compton was out for a third-ball duck in England's only innings of the first Test win at Headingley and his top score of the series was an unbeaten 22 in the second Test.

In the build-up to the second Test, which England won by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street, Compton accepted he was playing for his place and his style was not "that pretty".

He said: "We're in the entertainment business, it's about getting bums on seats.

"I know deep inside me there's a player in here who could change all those opinions very quickly but, unfortunately, until you do it and people see it in real life, there's no point in me saying anything else."

Nick Compton
Compton's highest Test score of 117 came against New Zealand in March 2013

'No credit in the bank'

Following the culmination of the Sri Lanka Test series, BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew said he would be "very surprised" if Compton was picked for the four-Test series against Pakistan, which begins at Lord's on 14 July.

"The selection process has to have an integrity and you can't keep going back to someone if they are not performing," said Agnew.

"Maybe a batsman with a career average of 50 would be given more time, but Compton doesn't have that sort of credit in the bank."

The grandson of England great Denis Compton, the self-confessed "intense performer" has averaged 28.70 in his 16 Test appearances and 41.66 in first-class cricket.

His domestic form in the County Championship for Middlesex this season has seen him score 100 runs in four matches at an average of 20.

"For some people, cricket is a lifestyle. For me it's a job," Compton told BBC 5 live sports extra in April. "Batting in the top three can be tough and I pride myself on my work ethic."

No 'dangerous' deadline set for return

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Angus Fraser said a break was a better option for Compton than "pushing him harder and harder".

He said: "For top sportsmen to reach the top levels, they work exceptionally hard and make huge commitments and care deeply about what they do.

"When it is not working out, they don't sit on their backsides and count money. They get in the nets and get training and work hard to improve and get things right.

"Sometimes though, the harder you try, the worse it gets. You need to take a step back, collect your thoughts and start again further down the line."

Fraser added that Compton will decide when he feels ready to return, describing a set deadline as "dangerous", and declined to comment on his England future.

'Absolutely broken' by Hughes' death

Neither Compton, Middlesex nor the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have specified exact reasons for his break.

Compton has previously admitted struggling to be motivated to play cricket after the death of his friend - former Middlesex team-mate and housemate Phillip Hughes in November 2014.

Hughes, who died at the age of 25 after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball, had supported Compton through his time out of the England picture.

"I just felt absolutely broken, for quite a while actually," Compton told BBC Sport last year, in an interview marking the first anniversary of Hughes' death.

"To lose someone who I spoke to quite a lot through my England experiences, who always made you feel better about yourself, in that sort of tragic way, having not had a chance to further our friendship, was devastating."

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