Compton can live up to his famous name, says Chris Cowdrey

 

The former England cricket captain Chris Cowdrey has urged Nick Compton to take his international chance with both hands and ignore the pressure that comes with having one of the sport's most famous surnames.

The England opener is likely to become the first Compton to win an England cap since his grandfather Denis played his final Test in March 1957, when he walks out at Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Cowdrey knows Compton well, having offered him advice at various points of a career that began at Middlesex in 2001, and if the Somerset man is handed his debut later this week, he will know exactly how he feels.

The former Kent all-rounder made his own international bow on England's tour of India in 1984. The main piece of advice he received from his own famous father, Colin, was to be careful of the food on one of cricket's most arduous tours.

Now, as Compton prepares to follow in some of world cricket's most famous footsteps, Cowdrey believes the Somerset opener's hunger for runs could make him an instant hit.

"He's a massively improved player," says Cowdrey. "He came and had a chat with me when he was looking to leave Middlesex a few years ago. We had a chat about the pressure that comes with playing with a famous name and whether a move to somewhere like Kent would be a good one.

"There were lots things we talked about and I liked him, I thought he had something about him. He went into the wilderness for a year or two but he has obviously got his technique ironed out and he has that confidence that Somerset seem to give to their players.

"I really hope he plays (in Ahmedabad). Obviously the pressure of the name can sit heavily on your shoulders but I think it helps that he's the grandson, rather than the son (of Denis Compton).

Get Adobe Flash player

"There would be a lot of current players who wouldn't be particularly interested in the name. He'll get a fair amount of sledging but none of these guys would have seen Denis Compton play and make any snide comments about it.

"I think when you play for England away from home you're under less pressure too. When you're at home you've got the whole nation knowing who you are and examining your every move."

Cowdrey's own England career started in remarkable style when the then captain David Gower threw him the ball as India's batsmen were making hay 27 years ago.

"We hadn't made many runs, they were already level with us and Kapil Dev was smashing it all over the place," says Cowdrey. "I had been fielding at short leg for a day and a half and I wasn't feeling great because it was very, very hot and dusty and every shot they played was going through the leg side. I was being peppered.

"Typical Gower, he wandered over to me and said 'The moment's come, you're bowling'. I turned to him and said 'I had better take these shin pads off' but he told me not to bother as I wouldn't be on long enough. So I ended up bowling my first over for England with a huge pair of shin pads on and a box."

Despite the additional body armour Cowdrey bowled Kapil Dev with his fourth ball, sparking jubilation among the England players and causing chaos on a snow-covered road in Kent.

"My dad made a few runs for England but he never took a wicket so he was so excited as soon as he heard I was bowling," says Cowdrey. "He was heading up to the City in blizzard conditions and ended up driving the wrong way up a one-way street. He was picked up [by the police] and everything. They ended up letting him off."

Cowdrey played every Test of that series as England pulled off a remarkable win, their last on Indian soil. Despite his father's advice, he did fall victim to illness during the four-month trip, as did every other member of the England, with one notable exception.

"Everybody had an illness at some stage except Mike Gatting," he laughs. "He did everything you weren't supposed to do. He ate everything, curries, salads, he didn't care what it was, and he was fine for the whole tour. He batted brilliantly too – he had a constitution of iron."

Compton will hope to demonstrate similar resilience this week.

Chris Cowdrey's career statistics

First class matches 299

Runs 12,252 Average 31.90

Tests 6 Runs 101 Average 14.42

* Test debut v India in Mumbai, 1984

* One Test as captain, v West Indies in 1988

* Cowdrey spent 16 years playing for Kent from 1977 to 1992

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices