Cricket

Nick Compton is determined to do it his way as he tries to re-establish his Test career.

Nick Compton knows importance of Durham as Test future hangs in the balance

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Nick Compton knows he will be playing for his Test future again at Chester-le-Street and insists his best chance of success is to stay true to himself.

England's number three will be under most scrutiny of all home batsmen, in likely tough conditions, when the second Investec Test gets under way against Sri Lanka on Friday.

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Compton is well aware of that, of course, after his third-ball duck in the innings victory at Headingley which put England 1-0 up with two to play.

After 14 Tests, he has made 724 runs at just above 30 but also a strike rate of little more than 35 per hundred balls - a crawl compared with many of his free-scoring team-mates in an increasingly gung-ho era.

More unfortunately, perhaps, Compton has acquired too an association with the word 'intense' - one he does not disclaim but rather embraces as a compliment for a batsman of his traditional ilk.

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The bottom-line response is that he simply needs to score more runs, in his own way to ensure further debate is irrelevant.

He does not shirk the issue when asked if his Test career may be on the line, as he seeks to re-establish his second run in the team after returning last December from a two-and-a-half-year hiatus.

"Definitely ... you've got to score runs," said Compton.

"I got nought at Headingley; I did okay in South Africa.

"If you don't play well enough, you get dropped. That's fundamentally how it works."

He acknowledges as well he will rarely attract the crowds drawn, for example, by Ben Stokes - the charismatic all-rounder who is missing his home Test after knee surgery.

"I think people are drawn towards a certain glamour - and some players provide that, and people want to see more," he added.

"That's great - we're in the entertainment business, it's about getting bums on seats, and I suppose watching Ben Stokes' 200 is better than watching Compton's 80.

"If I was sitting on the couch I'd rather watch Stokes' 200. I'm by no means unaware of that."

Compton is nonetheless adamant about his own value.

"We've an exciting team of stroke players ... and it's my role to get myself in and try and shield some of those players from the new ball, and if I get in to make sure I cash in and make sure I get a big score," he said.

"The new ball is tough. When you go in there, the way that I play doesn't always look that pretty.

"I know deep inside me there's a player in here who could change all those opinions very quickly - but unfortunately until you do it and people see it in real life, there's no point in me saying anything else."

He will be delighted to demonstrate another dimension to his batting - but only after he has done the hard yards first.

"There's a hunger and a desire to go out there and really show how well I can play," added the 32-year-old.

"If I do that I'm pretty confident a lot of those views will change.

"If I was a pundit, maybe I'd have those views too.

"But all I can focus on right now is not worrying about all that noise, (and) making sure I'm really on (my game).

"I don't want to change my style.

"When you're not playing well your style doesn't look so great.

"But when you are, it feels good inside, you feel that confidence - other people feed off that."

It has served him well so far, but on his own admission not quite as well as he would have liked for England.

Reflecting on his initial run of nine Tests in 2012 and 2013, he said: "I probably didn't take my chances with two hands - maybe with one, one-and-a-half hands.

"When I look back, the way I went about those innings, there was a consistency about the way I approached them. I've just got to do it better."

He is far from insulted to be described as intense either.

"I have a professional intensity ... I pride myself on my professionalism, my preparation and on the job that I do," he said.

"Away from the cricket environment, I don't think I'm intense - I play golf, I've got good mates, I go out for dinner, I do normal things.

"When it comes to my profession, I've found the role and the job that I do is quite intense.

"If I wanted to watch someone bat, I would rather watch Brian Lara, or my late grandfather [the great Denis], or Ben Stokes - I probably would.

"(But) I feel like I have made the best of what I've been given."

:: Investec is the title sponsor of Test match cricket in England. For more on Investec private banking, visit investec.co.uk/banking

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