Nick Compton, fridges and freezers

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2 minute read

One of the weirdest send-offs of all time was when Steve Kirby, then playing for Yorkshire, sent Mike Atherton on his way with the immortal line: “I’ve seen better batters in my fridge.” This article is nothing to do with that, even though it is about keeping batsmen in the fridge.

Since the India tour, there has been something of a Joe Root love-in in sections of the British press and Nick Compton has been the unfortunate victim of this. Some have perceived Compton as a functional 29-year-old batsman who should make way at the top of the order for the flavour of the month. We were not of this opinion.

The Root cause

It’s not that we don’t think Joe Root is an excellent player. It’s more that we suspect him of being not quite so excellent as he is currently being portrayed. Column inches can be disproportionate to ability, particularly when you’re 22. Besides, it’s always good to have something in reserve.

Think of the relationship between fridges and freezers. Your fridge food needs using, but your freezer food can wait. Sometimes there’s nothing in the fridge, but you still need to eat. At this point, you head for the freezer.

There should always be something in the freezer.

England currently have Nick Compton and Joe Root in the fridge and Jonny Bairstow in the freezer. This is fine by us. Bairstow is nowhere near his expiration date. He’ll keep.

On the other hand, what would you do with Compton were you to move Bairstow to the fridge? He can’t go back in the freezer – he’s already been frozen once. You would have to put him in the bin.

Promising freezer meals

A lot of freezer meals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, particularly when you’ve put them in plastic takeaway boxes without labelling them. You think it’s lamb nihari, but once it’s defrosted, it turns out it’s just sweet potato mash.

Nick Compton might not be Michelin-starred, but he’s better than sweet potato mash.

Could you make this point a bit more clearly?

Basically, we’d say a young player unable to break into the side is liable to improve more than an older player who’s been discarded. Despite what some writers might think, England don’t have such an embarrassment of riches that they can completely discard promising Test batsmen – which is basically what would happen to Compton if he were dropped.

This is the nub of it: Nick Compton is a promising Test batsman. He scored an extraordinary volume of runs in county cricket at a time when no-one else in the entire country could lay bat on ball. You have to pay attention to exceptional feats like that and he’s done more since, even if it hasn’t been headline-grabbing.

In India, he didn’t score heavily, but batted a hell of a long time, which was valuable considering England have a recent history where far more experienced batsmen have frequently been contributing to batting collapses on foreign tours.

And now he’s hit his first Test hundred. Compton has batted on more difficult pitches than the one at Dunedin and faced more challenging attacks than New Zealand’s, but his first Test hundred was scored in the face of a less than optimal match situation and a fair degree of personal pressure resulting from what has been described above.

His mind appears strong. Nick Compton warrants his place in the fridge.


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  1. Which England batsman is mashed up Dobbin masquerading as lasagne in this analogy? Eoin Morgan?

    1. And which is the chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle at the back of the cupboard? Are you sure you’ve thought this analogy through properly?

    2. Andy Flower: “Everyone in the vegetable tray, line up! We need to check your private parts for fungus”.

  2. I think the quote must actually have been: “I’ve seen better *batters* in my fridge.”

    From which I deduce that Kirby is a great lover of pancakes, but an inadequate cook.

  3. Some batsmen have only a limited shelf life and the selectors need to make the most of them as soon as they’re ripe. Once they hit their best before date that’s it – not everything can be successfully frozen and de-frosted. Which player is the punnet of strawberries?

  4. One of your best tortured analogies.

    Insert a pun about yoghurts here.

    It’s been a long week.

  5. What happens if you’re moving in a month and you’re trying to ‘eat down’ the freezer?

  6. I have terrible freezer habits – there might be some stuff in there from soon after I bought my last fridge and freezer c1999/2000.

    That makes me wonder whether some cricketers from that c1999/2000 vintage are still lurking in my metaphorical fridge or freezer and which cricketers that might be.

    I have come up with this list:
    David Sales
    Steve Kirby
    Chris Read
    Matthew Windows

    The only player I can think of who went into the freezer around that time and came out haute cuisine is Graeme Swann.

    Who would be on other people’s lists from their fridge/freezer vintage?

  7. The thing is, English cricket likes to eat out often. I have heard there’s an excellent South African restaurant in the neighbourhood. Why even bother with a freezer then?

    1. You’ve never eaten in a South African restaurant, have you, Ritesh? Not top of my list, and anyhow you can freeze South African grub too.

      Some defrosted Robin Smith, anyone?

  8. Just to clarify this ‘batters/fridge’ saying up…

    The quote is ‘batters’ in the fridge NOT batsmen and refers to ‘Yorkshire pudding’ batter mix. Any true Yorkshire man (or woman) who knows how to create this fantastic sunday lunch essential will know that it is highly recommended to keep the aforementioned mixture chilled over night. Ideally in a fridge (or to the older folk, a pantry).

    A batter mix which will rise perfectly when cooked is well known to be a true skill to the Yorkshire cook, just ask such Yorkshire cooking legends as Brian Turner.for example.

    When you think about it it’s a clever little put down which works on at least two more levels than we (the folk of Yorkshire) are used to when coming out with such stuff.

    Just a small note too that evidence does also seem to show that the ‘Yorkshire Pudding’ may also have been a Lancashire invention anyway!

    1. That does make sense, although we actually think it would have been funnier without a logical explanation. Never mind.

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