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‘Maybe they wouldn’t have taken me’ – Nick Compton’s secret operation ahead of the 2012 tour of India

by Wisden Staff 5 minute read

On the Giving The Game Away podcast, former Middlesex batsman Nick Compton revealed that he concealed an injury from England management in a bid to make his Test debut on the 2012 tour of India.

Compton, who played 16 Tests for England from 2012 to 2016, landed a spot in the touring party for a trip to India after a fine season with Somerset – in 11 County Championship matches, the right-hander hit 1,191 runs at an average of 99.25.

With Andrew Strauss having announced his retirement during the summer, a spot was available in the winter at the top of the England order next to Alastair Cook, but an injury threatened to curtail Compton’s hopes of a Test debut in India. Instead of informing the England set-up, Compton organised his own treatment.

“I actually flew myself to Germany a month before the tour because I had a history of sports hernias, and I felt like another one had come back,” said Compton. “I actually flew myself to Germany and paid for my own operation and then did my own sort of self-quarantine for 10 days while I rehabbed this injury, knowing that if I told the England set-up that I had this injury that potentially cast doubt on my place and maybe they wouldn’t have taken me. I can probably say that now, and I got away with it.

“It was a huge amount of stress building up to that series because of that, an injury situation, but also because I was playing in a very, very good England team. There were four Test matches and my goal was very simple – I want to play all four Tests because I might never play for England again, I might never experience an England tour again, I might never bat with Alastair Cook again or Kevin Pietersen, all these guys.

“For me, going out to the Wankhede Stadium with Tendulkar fielding at first slip, Sehwag, Dhoni, all these guys that you almost pinch yourself being on the same cricket field as, I wanted to be out there for at least two or three hours. Even if I get nought but I bat for two or three hours, I can say in 30 years’ time, I stood on an international cricket field for three hours, soaked in the atmosphere, faced all the bowlers and experienced the pitch and all that sort of thing, rather than get out early trying to play a shot. That’s how I built that in my mind, if I could spend time out there, from a selfish perspective, then I’ve made the most of my tour. I’ve experienced those conditions and potentially batted with Kevin Pietersen and can say I did that, rather than getting two ducks in your first Test and maybe a duck in your second and then Joe Root comes into the team and I don’t play again. I just thought, I didn’t want that.”

Compton did go on to make his international debut in the opening match of the series and finished the four Tests with 208 runs at an average of 34.66 as England secured a famous 2-1 series win.

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