Former England captain Michael Vaughan backs Nick Compton

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Compton last played Test cricket in May 2013, where a rib injury hindered his performances.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has backed Nick Compton to end his two-and-a-half-year exile from Test cricket and bat at number three during the upcoming Test series in South Africa.

Compton, who last played an international match against New Zealand in 2013, was recalled by the England hierarchy for the four-Test series in place of the dropped Ian Bell.

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And with Alex Hales set to open the batting for England alongside captain Alastair Cook against the world’s top-ranked side, Compton is locked into battle against Gary Ballance for the number three slot.

But Vaughan feels the experienced Middlesex campaigner has earned his reprieve.

“I’d personally go with Nick Compton – he’s done that role with Middlesex,” Vaughan told Sport360 exclusively at the Masters Champions League player auction in Dubai.

“They’ve decided to pick him, I feel that there’s no point in taking someone that age on a tour to South Africa if he’s not going to play.

“The batting line-up is the main concern, how they put the top six together. Cook and Hales will open, Compton would bat three, with Joe Root at four and then James Taylor at number five.”

While Durban-born Compton is likely to occupy the number three spot, despite opening the batting in his nine Test appearances to date, there are other question marks for England to solve further down the order.

One of those is whether Jos Buttler returns to the fold after being dropped for England’s final Test match against Pakistan in Sharjah last month.

Vaughan, who is England’s most successful ever Test captain, caught-up with the 25-year-old at Lancashire County Cricket Club’s headquarters last week, with the batsman-wicket-keeper revealing it was a “relief” to get dropped.

Despite Buttler’s blistering return to form with a century in the recent ODI series in the UAE, Vaughan feels England would be making the right call to stick with Jonny Bairstow for the South Africa tour.

“Jonny Bairstow has to play, you can’t give Bairstow one Test match and say ‘right, we’re going back to Jos Buttler,’” Vaughan said.

“Jonny, in my eyes, should be given the gloves and be given the opportunity to play at number seven, particularly for the first two Tests – and then you assess it after the first two matches.”

One man who has missed out on the flight to South Africa is Hampshire’s James Vince – a selection decision Vaughan does not agree with him.

Vince, who in the past has been likened to Vaughan, hit impressive scores of 41, 38 and 46 in three T20 outings for England.

“I just think Vince has got something, we’ve just seen him in the T20s. I’ve said for two or three years now he’s just got that game that looks like it will be able to go up to the next level, the highest level.

“He’s played so long in county cricket that sometimes you can watch a player and think he’s played too much because he’s almost got bored of it. We’ve got bored of seeing him in a county jersey.

“I think the times come where I certainly would have looked at Vince for the tour and I think England would have done the same if they’d not picked the squad before the T20 series against Pakistan.”

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