Mark Ramprakash, the England batting coach, feels that the underperforming batsman Nick Compton is capable of scoring “thousands” of more runs and has backed the player for his selection for the last Test match against Sri Lanka at Lord’s. The England coach believes that if the 32-year old can develop the ability to approach the Test match as just another game of cricket, irrespective of the occasion, he’ll thrive and can contribute a lot.
“I have found him committed, dedicated, focused. He has not had the start to the season he’d have wanted, but his strengths are that he can bat long periods of time, soak up pressure and he’s got a good technique.
“In my mind, I look at him and see a top player who is very capable of getting thousands more international runs. But he needs to go out there and allow himself to play the game of cricket in front of him, not the occasion,” Ramprakash told The Guardian.
The South African-born English cricketer has been under fire lately due to his streak of poor performances this year. After the scores of 85 and 49 in his comeback match against South Africa at Durban last year, he is yet to pass the fifty mark in his last 15 first-class innings. He scored 0 and 9 runs in the first innings of both the Tests against Sri Lanka at the Headingley and Chester-le-street respectively.
The right-handed batsman will be tested at the Lord’s in the final match of the series against Sri Lanka on Thursday and it could be a career defining match for him. Even after Compton's contribution of 22 not out in the second-innings to knock off a small target during the series-sealing second Test, his place in the team for future tours is uncertain.
Trevor Bayliss, coach of the England team has named five batsmen from the county cricket who are capable of making into the Test side. Mark Stoneman, Scott Borthwick, Tom Westley, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Robson are the players that are pushing hard to grab Compton’s place in the squad.
However, Ramprakash, who himself dominated the county cricket in his days but has only two out of his 114-first class hundreds in international test matches, feels that he can relate himself with the batsman. “All coaches are shaped by their own experiences and I certainly am, I want to be there as someone who can support and encourage the player.
“I can certainly relate to Nick feeling on edge, with the increased scrutiny about his position. I do feel I can help provide support for that. I think the signs are good. We'll try to look at that in his preparation, and break things down, not get too detailed,” he added.
The batting coach has worked tirelessly with the batsman throughout the English summer and remarked, "He does think about his game deeply, and that's fine. The best players do, because they need to adapt to different surfaces and different types of attacks.
"The main thing is as long as he's thinking the right way and allowing himself to play, that's what you hope he can do and certainly the players in the dressing room are trying to help him do that."
England is supposed to field an unchanged squad against the injury-hit Sri Lankan pace attack for the final match of the series. With the series already decided in the favour of the home team, the match is considered as a dead rubber but a lot will be at stake for Compton. He will play on his home ground, a venue that has a stand named after his grandfather, Denis Compton.