Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Bumpy: Clarke Will Reap Benefits Of Winter Experiences

Bumpy: Clarke Will Reap Benefits Of Winter Experiences

Joe Clarke will return to the Worcestershire side against Leeds-Bradford at Weetwood on Friday after a mini break following his extensive stint of winter action on three different fronts.

And Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes believes Clarke will reap the benefits after his up and down experiences during the past few months.

Clarke finished as Worcestershire's leading scorer in the Specsavers County Championship last summer with 1200 runs and five centuries including a career best 194 against Derbyshire in the final game.

Since then he has had enjoyed a steady diet of cricket starting with the England Lions in the UAE pre Christmas and then in Sri Lanka for five weeks in February-March.

That was followed by his involvement in the three match North versus South series and finally for the MCC against Middlesex in the UAE.

The 20-year-old endured a challenging time with the Lions before scoring a half century for the North in the opening 50 over clash.

He then produced a typically classy 89 for the MCC against the Champion County in Abu Dhabi although Middlesex ultimately won a thrilling contest by one wicket.

Clarke reported back to New Road yesterday after being given a few days off to recharge the batteries and he was not selected for the friendly encounters with Somerset at Taunton Vale and Gloucestershire at RGS Worcester.

Rhodes confirmed: "Joe will play at Leeds-Bradford and we are looking forward to having him back in the side.

"I think he is looking forward to playing for Worcestershire again and hopefully scoring runs there that will hold him in good stead for English wickets.

"What he has been used to (this winter) is obviously Sri Lankan and Dubai wickets so getting back to English wickets and getting himself in a good place for the opening Championship game at Cardiff will be good."

In terms of Clarke's winter programme, Rhodes added: "I think he would have preferred to have got a few more runs.

"But good for him to experience some failure as well because you definitely come back a better person and player with those ups and downs of cricket."

The County supremo confirmed that Tom Kohler-Cadmore will also play at Weetwood after making his comeback from shoulder surgery in the two-day encounter with Gloucestershire at RGS Worcester.

He said: "Tom was a little bit sore in the first innings but second innings he felt a lot better.

"He will play at Leeds-Bradford and it will be another opportunity to get some time in the middle and some runs and cement a place for Cardiff."