Kirby backs Compton for England call
Steve Kirby has backed Somerset team-mate Nick Compton's claims for an England call-up ahead of tomorrow's announcement of the cricket squad that will travel to India this winter.
Compton has enjoyed the best season of his career, scoring 1,496 first-class runs at an average of 99.60, despite missing five of runners-up Somerset's LV= County Championship matches.
England have a vacancy at the top of the order, with Andrew Strauss having retired, while Kevin Pietersen's international future remains unresolved.
And Kirby, who has faced all of those top-order batsmen vying with Compton for a place among the England ranks, believes his club-mate is in line for a call-up.
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"I hope he gets the call, because there aren't many people in the county game who can bat a full day – and what I mean by that is that they are willing to bat for a full day, and are willing to get through tough periods," said Kirby.
"He's done that, he's shown that, and his training ethic and work ethic are fantastic. He gets on that bowling machine off 18 yards at 85-90mph and puts himself under the pump, so by the time he gets out there in the middle it seems as if it's a lot easier.
"He's willing to get through tough periods, so hopefully that's going to stand him in really good stead. He's not bothered if he gets ugly runs now, whereas before maybe he was. He really understands his game now.
"He's made for international cricket, full stop. I think he's got the temperament for it and I think that's what this club generates. Look at the way Jos Buttler and Craig Kieswetter are conducting themselves in that England side – and we're so proud of them."
Compton was only denied 1,000 first-class runs before the end of May by rain – but quickly passed the milestone when he smashed a century on June 1.
And Kirby believes the 29-year-old is as ready as he will ever be for full England honours, having appeared for England Lions this summer.
"You look at our team and Pete Trego has led the attack and taken 50 wickets this season – and that's been an immense effort, as has the way Compo has batted," said Kirby. "It was unbelievable to have got almost 1,000 runs before June. He scored as many runs as he did, despite missing five games, and I just hope he gets the recognition this winter that he deserves."
Outgoing Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose, meanwhile, has confirmed his club expressed an interest in signing Surrey's Rory Hamilton-Brown – but said that interest was at a very preliminary stage.
"While it is true that I made an initial approach to Surrey about the possibility of signing Rory Hamilton-Brown once they released him, talks have not yet progressed beyond a very preliminary stage," said Rose.