Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Clarke: 12Th Man Duties Increase Hunger To Play For England

Clarke: 12Th Man Duties Increase Hunger To Play For England

Joe Clarke says his first experience of the England dressing room has made him even hungrier to break into the senior squad.

The Worcestershire batsman carried out 12th man duties during the recent ODI against Cardiff at the SWALEC Stadium.

Now next week Clarke and New Road team-mate Brett D'Oliveira will be on England Lions duty in the Tri-Series also involving Sri Lanka 'A' and Pakistan 'A'.

Clarke has already tasted life with the Lions after his inclusion in the winter squads for the T20 and 50 over series against Pakistan 'A' in the UAE but it is a first call-up for D'Oliveira.

The pair – along with Tom Kohler-Cadmore – have been Worcestershire's leading run-getters in Championship cricket so far this season.

Clarke said: "It is always nice to get that recognition again and to be involved in another Lions series is a reflection of some hard work over the winter, some decent performances this season and I'm just raring to get going now.

"To get into another Lions squad was always my aim. I knew there was a series this summer at the start of the season and that was the aim along with some other goals. It's good I've ticked that off.

"There are a lot of guys I was involved with in the winter with the Lions who have gone onto play for England in the recent T20 and ODI Series versus Sri Lanka.

"It makes you feel you are not that far away (from England) if you have some good performances for the Lions and keep putting in the performances for your county."

Clarke, who has scored three Championship hundreds this summer, added: "The 12th man experience was excellent as well. It was good to get around all the England lads.

"I've met most of them and it was good just to spend a day down there at Cardiff and get involved in the changing room.

"It is something that makes you hungrier to be there permanently. I was a bit nervous. Big Mooen (Ali) was helping me out and then the boys made me feel real welcome and they are all a good bunch of guys."

It is poignant that England's opening match in the Tri-Series will take place against Pakistan 'A' at Chelteham College.

For it was a double hundred on that ground for Worcestershire Seconds against Gloucestershire Seconds just over a year ago that helped to propel Clarke into the first team – and he has not looked back since.

Clarke said: "It all kicked off for me there with that score. I don't know about getting a double hundred this time but I'd be happy to contribute in a match-winning series for England."