Somerset's Nick Compton available for three early LV= County Championship matches
Somerset have received a significant boost on the eve of the new season, after England confirmed Nick Compton will be available for three of the county’s first four Championship matches.
The 29-year-old – the leading run-scorer in first-class cricket in England last summer – is with the Test squad in New Zealand.
After scoring back-to-back Test hundreds, he is almost certain to be involved when the Black Caps visit England this summer, with a two-Test series beginning at Lord’s on May 16.
But first he will be allowed to face Surrey, Warwickshire and Yorkshire for Somerset in Division One. After missing the season opener at Durham, Compton is also available for Somerset’s YB40 fixture against Unicorns on May 5.
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The England & Wales Cricket Board have also confirmed that Somerset wicketkeeper Jos Buttler will be available for all county matches ahead of the New Zealand series.
News of Compton’s availability for three of Somerset’s first four LV= County Championship matches broke shortly after captain Marcus Trescothick paid tribute to Compton, claiming he was “made for Test cricket”.
“I’m delighted that Nick has done so well – and, at the same time, I’m not surprised,” said Trescothick. “We saw how he played last season for us, and over the last couple of years he’s progressed to become the type of player he is now.
“With him getting back-to-back hundreds, ask any of the lads here and they’ll tell you they’re not surprised at all, because his mental capacity is made for Test cricket. He values every opportunity he gets and whether he gets 250 or nought in the first innings, he will still approach the second innings in the same way. With the way he’s started, it looks very much likely that he’ll be involved with the (England) team for a while yet.
“Back-to-back hundreds in the fashion he got them is no mean feat and I think England will like the partnership at the top of the order with Alastair Cook and Compton – it’s starting to blossom. I would expect Nick to be involved in the Ashes.”
The first day of Somerset’s two-day pre-season friendly against Worcestershire at Taunton was abandoned yesterday without a ball being bowled. Somerset had planned to give wicketkeepers Buttler and Craig Kieswetter one innings each behind the stumps.
Imran Farhat marked his return to the one-day fold with an excellent 93 to help Pakistan level their ODI series with South Africa after a nailbiting three-wicket triumph in the fourth encounter in Johannesburg.
There was also a superb 80 from captain Misbah-ul-Haq as he and Farhat took the tourists to the brink of overhauling South Africa's 236-9, before Shoaib Malik hit the winning runs with eight balls to spare.