London: Nick Compton is to take a break from cricket, the under-pressure England batsman’s county side Middlesex announced Thursday.
Compton repeatedly accepted he was playing for his England place during a recent home Test series against Sri Lanka where the number three managed just 51 runs in three matches at an average of 12.75.
The grandson of England batting great Denis Compton, Nick — a Test specialist who does not play short-form international cricket — has also struggled to make runs for Middlesex so far this season.
Now the hope is that by taking a break of unspecified length, Compton — a notably more intense cricketer than his celebratedly carefree grandfather — will be allowed to “recharge”.
A statement issued Thursday said: “Middlesex County Cricket Club and the England Cricket Team management have agreed for Nick Compton to be given a period of time away from cricket.
“Following a challenging start to the 2016 season, both physically and mentally, it has been agreed that the best way forward is for Compton to spend some time away from the game.”
Compton’s 16 Tests have yielded two centuries but a modest average of under 29 has put his place in jeopardy ahead of England’s upcoming four-match series at home to Pakistan, especially as he turns 33 on Sunday.
Middlesex managing director of cricket Angus Fraser, also an England selector, backed Compton’s decision to take a break.
“Nick sets himself very high standards and makes a huge commitment to cricket,” said Fraser.
“We all believe that some time away from the game now will allow him to refresh, recharge and return to play the sort of cricket we all know he is capable of producing,” the former England fast-medium bowler added.
“During this period Nick will receive the full support of Middlesex CCC and the England Cricket Team Management.”
Compton’s move could pave the way for an England recall for either Scott Borthwick or Ian Bell.