Cricket

Nick Compton enjoying his second chance in the England squad

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Nick Compton admits his unexpected recall to England colours feels like "a second coming".

The 32-year-old batsman played the last of his nine Tests in May 2013 and at times seemed to have fallen completely off the selectors' radar despite a strong domestic record.

He was something of a surprise pick as Ian Bell's replacement at number three for the tour of his native South Africa but is delighted to be handed a belated lifeline.

"Ultimately, yes, it's a second coming for me," he said ahead of Sunday's three-day warm-up against South Africa A.

"Getting back into the side is great. I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself but philosophically it's great to be back in the environment and be a part of the team. You want to take your chance and my challenge is just to contribute.

"I want to contribute to this team as much as I can and hopefully that will come in the form of runs. But time in the middle and setting up a platform for the middle order is also another job that i can do. I'm going to make sure when I get out there I be as ruthless as possible."

A perception existed that Compton's face did not fit comfortably in the regime of then coach Andy Flower, despite Compton scoring two centuries in his brief time as Alastair Cook's opening partner.

Both men could be described as intense characters but they did not gel and Compton has spoken in the past about their difficult relationship.

Flower is still at the England and Wales Cricket Board but with no real involvement at senior level and Compton finds the ship run by Australian Trevor Bayliss more to his liking.

"It's been an easy and professional environment," he said, having announced his return with a measured 58 against an Invitational XI in Potchefstroom.

"It's relaxed but professional and I think that's great.

"People are allowed to go and express themselves. The coaches are here to help and support but it's very much up to you and it gives you greater self reliance to do the things that work for you and have worked for you over a period of time.

"The England environment now is a very positive one."

Compton was in familiar surroundings as England practised at the Pietermaritzburg Oval on Saturday, having grown up in Durban and attended the nearby Hilton College.

"I played here a couple of times, once in club cricket and once as a junior at the age of 13," he said.

"I know the area quite well. It's quite picturesque and there have been some good matches here.

"They've played some franchise cricket, but I'm not sure what we're going to get with the wicket. We've had a couple of chats with the groundsman but someone said it has a lot to do with the overhead conditions."

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