England in New Zealand: Andy Flower shows faith in Nick Compton
Last Updated: March 4, 2013 9:33am
Nick Compton is set to retain his place in England's Test team for the series opener against New Zealand, which starts in Dunedin on Wednesday.
Somerset right-hander Compton played all four matches as Alastair Cook's opening partner on the pre-Christmas tour of India but his position appeared under threat after the emergence of Yorkshire's Joe Root.
Compton made scores of 21 and one in England's only warm-up fixture, a three-wicket defeat to a New Zealand XI in Queenstown, but coach Andy Flower is happy with his contributions.
"He's a good player."
Andy Flower on Nick Compton
"I thought Nick played really well in India," said Flower. "He had some tricky situations to deal with there - some extreme sub-continent conditions, obviously the pressure of playing in India for the first time.
"I thought he did extremely well out there, without getting the huge score.
"He put on some really valuable partnerships with Cook... He's a good player."
Root also made his England debut on the tour of India, scoring 73 and 21 not out at number six in the final Test which the tourists drew to clinch a 2-1 series victory, and has since put together a string of good innings in the limited-overs formats.
"You've got to remember Joe Root has played one Test match," said Flower of the 22-year-old.
"I think everyone should keep a little calm about his prospects.
"No one knows exactly how he's going to do, not Joe and none of us.
"But he has handled himself very well in the international competition and the opportunities he's been given so far.
"We look forward to him having a very successful career, but he's got to take it one step at a time - as do all of us."
It will be a major surprise if England do anything other on Wednesday than select the same top six, in the same order.
Flower and Cook also have an obvious course of action to confirm an attack led by James Anderson and Steven Finn, both rested for the tour match, and completed by Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann.
Broad, dropped in India before he had to fly home with a heel injury which is still troubling him, got through more than 40 overs over the four days in Queenstown.
Flower said: "I'm very pleased. His heel is obviously a worry to him and to us. But it reacted well to the number of overs he bowled and he came through it well.
"He is fit and available for selection for the first Test."