Rewind back nearly three years and it was current England captain Alastair Cook that was having a miserable summer with the bat, in fact a longer stretch of gloom than Nick Compton is presently enduring at the top of the order.
Calls were being made from all corners that Cook should be dropped after an unconvincing run of 106 runs in eight innings and looking like a walking wicket for Pakistan’s quick bowlers.
The decision was made to remain patient with Cook and this was rewarded with a much-needed century in a late Test with Pakistan before the memorable Ashes series where he helped himself to 766 runs in only seven innings.
Expecting Nick Compton to average over 100 against Australia may be pushing expectation too far, but Cook’s previous return to form should be justification that the Somerset batsman deserves to open in the Ashes.
England coach Andy Flower has told Compton that if he scores some runs in the coming weeks at Somerset his place is assured and he will need to retain the faith in his ability that saw him score two 100s in New Zealand earlier this year, albeit on batsman-friendly pitches.
Since, Compton has contributed just 54 in his last six innings, but changing an opening pairing is not a decision to be taken lightly, especially on the eve of a series as big as the Ashes.
Kevin Pietersen is expected to return for the Ashes and this will mean dropping a batsman to make room.
Compton would now be the easy target, with future opener and current number five Joe Root being promoted up the order, but the sensible decision, at least for the first Test with Australia, would be to leave out Jonny Bairstow.
If Compton is still struggling for both county and international form after the first Test at Trent Bridge, then his position should be reassessed, but for now England would be foolish to change their opening partners.
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