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Tim Wigmore talks to Nick Compton about his return of form
“Bloody hell: that's nice to feel again.” This was the thought that overtook Nick Compton after he reached his first century for 11 months. “I just felt: never doubt yourself again, it's there. There were times when I did doubt it. It's horrible when you're in an England shirt and that's happening, because you almost want to stop time.”
Speaking after his 131 against Durham, Compton said, “It almost felt like going back to getting my first ever hundred. I'm still trying to work out how badly it went over the last three or four months. I've not been in bad form for that like about eight years, where I literally felt like batting left-handed might have been a better option at one stage. You live and learn.”
Compton credited an adjustment of his stance for his century. “It hasn’t been fun. I've worked out a few technical things over the last four or five hours and I thought - 'oh my word, why didn't I think of this against Sri Lanka?'
“I just realised that I'd been crossing myself over a little bit, closing myself off a bit. I've been trying everything, but actually realised last night that I should open my stance a bit. As soon as I did I suddenly realised where my offstump was again, the straight ball didn't feel threatening. It was a massive relief but it was a shame that the timing was what it was.”
“I just felt like all the angles and lines suddenly worked again - anything marginally outside offstump I felt like the whole offside opened up again. That's just not happened for a long time. Even though you've written down your notes over the years and I know know these things, if you don't find the feeling it's a bloody hard game.”
Compton’s loss of form culminated in him being dropped by England and taking a break from the game.
“I wasn't doing myself any good at the time, but I'm very grateful to England and Middlesex,” he said. “Mentally it's been really challenging. As much as I was trying to get myself going, I was practising hard and trying to work out what was going wrong, but you almost feel that you're flogging a dead horse after a while and you actually have to be honest with yourself. it's not a case of being weak but being honest with yourself and saying 'you know what? I'm fried here. I know it's there somewhere but I just can't seem to find it'. You want to be motivated but it was hard to push through.”
“Some of the shots and the ways I was getting out were painful for me. You don't want to let yourself down, you've got 10 other great players in that changing room and wearing an England shirt is something that I've always wanted to do.”
Now, Compton hopes to help Middlesex to their first title since 1993. “It would be amazing. I came here because this is my club, a club that i've played for and my grandfather obviously has great history here and it's something that hasn't been achieved for a number of years.”