Monday, March 9th, 2015

Bumpy: “shoot Out At Ok Coral” Between Cox And Clarke Would Mean “exciting Cricket” Ahead

Bumpy: “shoot Out At Ok Coral” Between Cox And Clarke Would Mean “exciting Cricket” Ahead

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes believes Worcestershire can look forward to some "exciting cricket" if there is "a shoot-out at the OK Coral" between fellow wicket-keepers Ben Cox and Joe Clarke in the competition for places.

Cox was the county's number one keeper last season, scored his maiden Championship century against Hampshire and played several other important innings until an end of season dip.

He impressed many – including former England keeper James Foster – with his performances behind the stumps as he thrived on the challenge of standing up to Saeed Ajmal.

Cox has carried on his fine form of 2014 while playing grade cricket for Greenvale Kangaroos in Australia this winter.

England Under-19 player Clarke finished top of the Second Eleven batting averages in 2014 and scored the county's highest ever Second Eleven Championship score of 222 against MCC Young Cricketers.

He has also been successful Down Under with South Perth CC, scoring 140 out of 215 in his penultimate match for the club.

Rhodes said: "With Joe, I know his coach at South Perth is absolutely delighted with him and they want him to go back. He has forced his way up the order.

"For him to come away with such a high percentage of the overall score (140 out of 215), I know it was tough. They were a decent attack, I also know they got stuck into him regarding a bit of sledging.

"If they can't get him out, they might try things like that. He stood up to it and that is really good signs for him moving forward and challenging for games of cricket.

"That is the reason he is not with the England Under-19s in April. He wants to be here challenging for spots.

"The good thing for Joe is his keeping is coming on as well and some of the work we did at the end of last season, hopefully that has held him in good stead.

"If it means a shootout at the OK Coral for Ben Cox and Joe Clarke, then I'm sure we will see some exciting cricket.

"We want to be a really strong squad and to be a really strong squad, you need competition for places."