London: Nick Compton is relishing the chance to follow in the footsteps of his legendary grandfather after the Somerset batsman was named in England's Test squad for their tour of India. Until now Compton has been more famous for the exploits of England great Denis Compton than his own achievements on the field.
While Denis made 78 Test appearances for England, scoring 5807 runs at an average of 50.06, and also played top-flight football for Arsenal, Compton junior has languished in relative obscurity for much of his career. But the 29-year-old finally got his first international call-up on Tuesday when England's selectors revealed their 16-man squad to take on India in a four Test series, starting in Ahmedabad on November 15.
It was a great moment for South Africa-born Compton, who has experience of Indian conditions from the England Lions squad and can't wait to return to a cricket-mad country that was always one of his grandfather's favourite venues. "For any aspiring international cricketer, going to India is a great opportunity," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "It was my grandfather's favourite place to tour and I'm no different - I've been there five or six times and it's an amazing place. Cricket's a real religion there, what better place to play the game you love? The conditions will be testing but that makes it more enjoyable to test yourself in that way."
Compton has been battling to win a place in the England set-up for several years and it seemed his chance had gone when he was overlooked earlier in the season despite scoring nearly 1,000 runs before the end of May. However, with Andrew Strauss retired and Ravi Bopara out of form, there were two places up for grabs on the India tour and Compton has been one of the beneficiaries. "It was disappointing (to be overlooked) but I did believe the chance would possibly come again if I could keep scoring consistently. I'm quite proud I managed to do that all season," Compton added.
After finishing the domestic season as the County Championship's top scorer with an impressive 1,191 runs from 11 matches and now securing an England call-up, Compton is relieved to have earned some headlines for his own achievements rather than his family ties at last. "There was a newspaper article the other day that didn't mention my grandfather and it was one of the first times, and I thought 'wow, I must have made it on my own now!'," he said.
Compton isn't the only uncapped player getting ready for the trip to India. England also handed a first call-up to young Yorkshire opener Joe Root, whose runs helped his team win promotion from the Second Division of the County Championship this season. Like Compton, Root spent last winter in India with the England development squad and the 21-year-old, a contender to replace Strauss at the top of the batting order, hopes the experience could prove useful. "I am really looking forward to being a part of it," Root told Sky Sports News. "If opportunities arise then fantastic. I will be working really hard to put a case forward for myself."I spent the winter in India and a lot of teams struggle out there and that experience last winter will be definitely useful if I am called upon."