Alastair Cook backs Nick Compton to produce big innings in New Zealand
Last Updated: March 5, 2013 9:22pm
England captain Alastair Cook is backing Nick Compton to prove he is the long-term replacement for Andrew Strauss in the New Zealand Test series.
The Somerset batsman made an impressive start to his Test career in India, contributing several gritty innings to England's winning cause.
The 29-year-old's top score was 57 in Kolkata - but he figured in stands of 123, 66, an unbroken 58 and 165 as the new opening partner for Cook following the retirement of Strauss.
He struggled in the warm-up match against a New Zealand XI but Cook is hoping for significant consolidation in the three-Test series starting against New Zealand in Dunedin this evening, UK time.
Compton will keep his place at the top of the order with the man many pundits believe is the best long-term option at the top of the order - Joe Root - likely to come in at No 6.
"I'd just love to see him get in and get that one big score which will get him up and running," Cook said.
"He's definitely got the class to do that at international level."
Cook believes he and Compton proved they have an understanding in India.
"I think we did - we got off to some really good starts in India. Clearly he's a very different character to Straussy. He's an intense guy, but that's worked very well for him.
"I think that single-mindedness that he's got means when he gets in, he's very hard to get out.
"Straussy and I played a lot of cricket together. We're quite similar in character. I think 'Compo' and I are probably quite different in character, but that probably doesn't really matter too much.
"One of the good advantages of having 'Compo' there is the left-hand and right-hand combination. If you can have that, it makes a big difference - because obviously the bowlers have got to change their lines.
"I obviously feel a little bit more responsibility to try to look after 'Compo'. All the senior players have that responsibility, as you get the experience.
"Any advice you can give them (helps), because they'll tend to look to the senior players who have been there before.
"The starts we got in India, in different conditions to what he's used to, show he can adapt his game to international cricket. I think he'd be the first to admit he got those starts without kicking on.
"One of his great strengths, when he plays for Somerset, and the reason he forced his way into this England side was that when he got in he went big. It was slightly unusual that didn't happen.
"But I've got no concerns about that, because that's why he got picked. He's got the ability to get in and score big hundreds.
"There will be no one trying any more desperately to do that than Nick, and I think he's got every attribute to do well."