Nick Compton says he is counting down the days until Sunday when the former England batsman’s season comes out of a month’s mid-summer hibernation.
Surplus to Middlesex’s T20 Blast requirementfs, 34-year-old Compton has found himself on the sidelines since the county champions beat Warwickshire in a one-wicket thriller at Edgbaston in their last Championship outing, in the first week of July.
In that match, he scored 33 and 49, having made 120 against Essex at Chelmsford in his previous game.
Since then, Compton has tried to net and train as much as possible. He was in the Lord’s nets again, facing a red ball, before Middlesex’s T20 Blast defeat against Hampshire this week and will join the Championship squad for final preparations ahead of the return match against Warwickshire at Lord’s.
“I’ve had just one innings in more than four weeks – so it will be a challenge,” he said.
“It’s frustrating because, when the break in Championship cricket came, I was beginning to get some runs and feel good about my game. At least I have lots of experience to help me to deal with the situation.
“I’ve gone through my drills and done my practice, but nothing is comparable to match intensity.
“I played in one Middlesex second XI red-ball match, a three-day game against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl a week or so back, but I got three in my only innings and it also rained, which was not ideal.
“I’ve opted not to play any club cricket, because I’m not sure it would have given me the right type of match practice.”
After missing the start of the four-day season in April through injury, Compton has actually only appeared in five Championship games so far this summer, totalling 285 runs from eight innings at an average of 35.62.
It has, indeed, been a strange sort of season so far for a man with more than 11,500 first-class runs to his name and who made the last of his 16 Test appearances for England in June last year.
Middlesex, meanwhile, with two wins from eight matches, lie in fifth place in Division One with 94 points – trailing leaders Essex by 44 points but only 15 points behind second-placed Lancashire.
Another win against bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire would certainly get Middlesex supporters talking more excitedly about the chances of back-to-back titles.
“We were not far off being in this sort of position at this time last year,” added Compton.
“We then went on a bit of a run of victories, so it’s possible that could happen again.
“But, to be able to do that, we need to play some better cricket – and, in particular, more consistent cricket – and, as a team, we must be more consistent in this last part of the championship season.”