New Zealand v England: Alastair Cook issues Nick Compton backing

New Zealand v England: Alastair Cook gives his opening partner Nick Compton a vote of confidence ahead of the first Test

England captain Alastair Cook has given opening partner Nick Compton a vote of confidence ahead of the first Test against New Zealand, which begins in Dunedin at 2130GMT on Tuesday.

Compton has made a solid, if unspectacular, start to his Test career after averaging 34.66 during England’s series victory in India at the back end of last year, and Cook believes the 29-year old is ready to kick on.

“I’d just love to see him get in and get that one big score which will get him up and running,” said Cook, 28.

“He’s definitely got the class to do that at international level.”

Cook believes that a series of high partnerships with Compton – 123, 66, 58 and 165 – in uncompromising sub-continental conditions augurs well for the series against the Kiwis.

“The starts we got there, in different conditions to what he’s used to, show he can adapt his game to international cricket,” said Cook.

“I think he’d be the first to admit he got those starts without kicking on.”

“One of his great strengths, when he plays for Somerset, and the reason he forced his way into this England side, was that when he got in he went big.”

“It was slightly unusual that didn’t happen in India, but I’ve got no concerns about that, because that’s why he got picked.”

“He’s got the ability to get in and score big hundreds.”

“There will be no one trying any more desperately to do that than Nick, and I think he’s got every attribute to do well.”

Joe Root has impressed across all three formats of international cricket since being called upon in the final Test in India, but is expected to remain at number six for the beginning of an action-packed 2013 Test calendar against Antipodean opposition.

“We have a huge year and it is great to be involved in such a year of Test cricket but as players we have to focus on tomorrow’s game and worry about the other stuff afterwards,” said Cook.

“Anyone who knows Andy Flower and seen how he has operated over the years will know not one ounce of complacency is allowed. We were a little bit sloppy in that warm up game but actually some of the stuff which came out of it was positive as well. There will be no complacency and we have to make sure we concentrate on what we do.”

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