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Michael Atherton
Cricket Expert & Columnist

The Ashes 2013/14: Nick Compton's Test career 'appears over', says Atherton

ECB announce winter Ashes squad

Nick Compton's Test career appears over after the opener failed to win selection for England's upcoming Ashes tour, says Mike Atherton.

Compton, 30, won't be part of the 17-man squad that will head to Australia next month to defend the urn after he was overlooked for the second series in succession.

"The selectors simply don't like Nick Compton and therefore have moved on to Michael Carberry."

Michael Atherton

The Somerset batsman has scored two centuries in nine Tests since debuting in November 2012 against India, making back-to-back tons against New Zealand in Dunedin and Wellington earlier this year, but was dropped in favour of Joe Root before this summer's Ashes after experiencing a drop of form.

Reflecting on England's Ashes squad announcement, former England opener and Sky Cricket pundit Atherton said: "The selectors have got to make some tough judgements.

"Although chairman of selectors Geoff Miller said the door is still open for Nick Compton, it's hard to see how he is going to play for England again - they've decided on what they've seen that they don't think he's good enough.

"It is certainly hard to argue a case that puts Michael Carberry ahead of Nick Compton - Compton has scored runs in division one, Carberry in division two - and given that Compton went away and got runs against Australia and has done pretty well in his Test career to date.

"But the selectors have got to make decisions and based on what they've seen they simply don't like Nick Compton and therefore have moved on to Michael Carberry."

Surprising

Trio react to Ashes call-up

England's party includes three players yet to make their Test debut - Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes, Warwickshire paceman Boyd Rankin and Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance.

Ballance, 23, bagged two centuries for the England Lions in August and at the time of his call up was approaching 1,000 County Championship runs at an average of over 50.

After Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow was dropped for the fifth Test against Australia, Atherton said it appears as though the fight for England's number six spot is shaping up to be a straight battle between Ballance and Bairstow.

"The selection of Ballance for his good form for Yorkshire suggests that the selectors aren't quite sure about Jonny Bairstow at number six," said Atherton.

"It's a surprising selection given the smoke signals that the selectors had sent out during the summer, which was that they would pick Taylor as the reserve batsman.

"But I think that they are just saying 'look - we're not sure of our best batsmen outside of our top five - so now they've gone with Carberry and Ballance and the hope is that those two can announce themselves.

"As for Stokes, he looked eye-catching in the one-day series; he bowled quickly - upwards of 90mph. He would describe himself as a batting all-rounder rather than a bowling all-rounder, so if his batting measures up to that express pace in the bowling department then he's got potential to be a serious all-rounder."

Watch England defend the urn this winter against Australia live on Sky Sports and online, on mobile and iPad with the Ashes Events Centre.