South Africa v England: Nick Compton doubted Test recall

Nick Compton
Nick Compton scored 1,123 County Championship runs at an average of 38.72 this summer

Recalled England batsman Nick Compton has admitted he doubted whether he would return to the Test side.

Compton, 32, is in the squad for the four-Test series in South Africa, having played the most recent of his nine Tests in 2013.

He told BBC Sport: "Things have turned full circle and I'm just delighted and grateful to be on the tour."

The South Africa-born right-hander also said he would prefer to bat at number three in the four-Test series.

England play a three-day game against South Africa A in Pietermaritzburg starting on Sunday, their final warm-up match before the first Test in Durban begins on 26 December.

Middlesex's Compton, the grandson of England legend Denis, scored 208 runs in eight Test innings in India on his debut tour in 2012, before making two centuries in New Zealand in March 2013.

Having managed only 16, 15, one and seven in the return series two months later, he was discarded for the 2013 Ashes against Australia, which England won 3-0.

Compton's Test career in numbers
Tests: 9Runs: 479Average: 31.93Highest score: 117Centuries: 2Fifties: 1

Compton, who once likened being dropped to being dumped by a girlfriend, added: "There were times when I doubted that I would get selected again.

"But I've kept persevering and just being as professional as I can with my counties.

"I'm a couple of years on and got that experience and ability. I proved to myself and others that I can bat for a long period of time.

"If I can show those qualities and attributes with this England team, I'll be a happy man and hopefully England will be doing very well. Time will tell."

Despite opening in all his previous Tests, Compton is in competition with Gary Ballance to fill the number three position vacated by Ian Bell, who was dropped for the South Africa tour.

Compton scored 58 and 15 at number three in England's drawn opening tour match against a South Africa Invitation XI, while left-hander Ballance made 25 in his only innings.

Asked if three is his favoured position, Compton said: "If I had a choice, yes, but I'm happy to bat anywhere."

26-30 Dec: 1st Test, Durban14-18 Jan: 3rd Test, Johannesburg
2-6 Jan: 2nd Test, Cape Town22-26 Jan: 4th Test, Centurion