England’s next opening batsman

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Nick Compton accidentally scores a run

We’d go for Nick Compton. He was born in Durban, so it would help Malcolm Conn be hilarious. Conn’s definitely a man abiding by our ‘repeat until funny’ rule when making jokes about England cricketers born in South Africa.

He’s not got there yet.

Another reason to go for Compton is that he’s a top order batsman who’s scored loads of runs in the last couple of years. We’re kind of old-fashioned – we like it when batsmen do that. It seems relevant, even if the person in question isn’t in some sort of development programme and is also over the age of 23.

They’ll probably go for someone younger who’s flavour of the month. That’s usually the way these things work. ‘Blood some young talent,’ people cry, as if talent fades by the year. Nothing against young batsmen, but we increasingly like our top order batsmen to be old and lumpen. Compton’s perfectly happy to hang around without really doing anything whatsoever. This is admirable.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. You don’t want Robert Key back? Is Carberry permanently unable to travel?

    Compton hasn’t been opening much though, has he? Even so, I’d probably still favour him over, say, Joe Root or Alex Hales.

    Is there not an argument for having Bell or Trott open, and bringing back Morgan or Bopara into the middle order? Saves us having three completely new batsmen in the top six.

    1. Jonathan Trott is a very good number three and we don’t really fancy having a four, five and six with about nine caps between them and so would prefer Bell to stay where he is.

      As ever, these opinions are scratched in sand rather than set in stone.

  2. Compton’s prone to both physical injury and to brain scrambling when things go awary – I just don’t see him as an England opener myself.

    My heart says yes – another player who I watched come up through the Middlesex system – but my head says no.

    Personally, I’d blood Joe Root. He tickss all the boxes for me apart from the box that reads “ideally, start him a little older”. I seem to recall a very young Cook in 2006 being blooded just like that, in India, with great success.

    1. Imagine if he messes up while batting with the tail, though?

      Cook roasts Root; Onions steaming.

    2. If there’s a brain-scramblage issue, that’s another matter. Was that a youthful tendency or does it still happen?

    3. My take is that the scrambling would still happen if he were under the spotlight by being picked to open the batting for England. But that is pure supposition on my part.

      Last very obvious scramble was 2008, although the spotlight on his approach towards 1000 runs this year seemed to slow him down.

      Nick Compton is physically injured just now anyway I believe – he has not played since that Lions match in early August.

  3. Harsha Bhogle once wrote on cricinfo about a certain Australian journalist who comes down harsh on Indians. Bhogle had dinner with him and found him to be rather pleasant. And yet, the next day’s piece dripped with vitriol, apparently.

    I have always found Conn a bigot. And an asshole.

  4. KC, can we expect a post about Warwickshire’s thumping semi-final victory over Lancashire at Old Trafford?

    Didn’t think so.

    Hard lines, though. There’s no disgrace in losing to the double winners elect.

    1. The most startling thing about this match is that I’ve realised just how fat Ian Blackwell really is.

      Was he always that fat?

    2. Not always, but mostly. There was a slightly slimmer period when he still had designs on playing for England.

      This was a brief period.

    3. Carter’s carrying a bit of timber too.

      Maybe we should sign Bob Key and become a team of big units.

  5. what ever happend to steve davies in the england set up. we aint seen him there since he came out and i think he would make a good opening partner to alister cook plus if matt prior gets injured davies is a good enough keeper to stand in for him and would free up a position lower in the oder for an extra seamer or spinner

    1. If Kieswetter fails, he’ll probably be next to have a go with the gloves in one-day cricket, but don’t think he’s really thought of as being a Test batsman. Certainly not a Test opener.

  6. I am surprised that no one has mentioned Varun Chopra, has been pretty good this year. But im sure that Root will get the gig, feel a lil for Carberry who is more than adequate for the role.

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