Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Clarke Aims To Continue T20 Blast Form With Lions Down Under

Joe Clarke is hoping to continue his big-hitting T20 form with Worcestershire Rapids last summer with England Lions when they switch to white ball mode for the second part of their winter camp in Australia next month.

Clarke ended the campaign as the County’s highest run-scorer – 381 at 31.75 – and leading six hitter with 19 – one ahead of Ross Whiteley – after switching to the opening role.

The highlight was a memorable 124 off just 53 balls against visiting Durham Jets – the second highest score by a County players in T20 cricket.

Clarke’s initial focus with the Lions – who flew out to Australia yesterday – will be on red ball cricket during a two week camp in Brisbane in which they will take on a Queensland X1 at the Allan Border Oval.

But then Clarke will be looking to repeat that T20 power hitting with the Rapids when the Lions take on Perth Scorchers in a trio of T20 matches in December and admits he would love to play for his country “in all formats.”

On becoming a real force in T20, Clarke said: “It is the way T20 is going now. Most of your front-line batters have got to be able to clear the ropes and play all different kinds of shots.

“It is certainly something I reflected on from the year before and realised I wasn’t good enough the year before and I was droppable from that T20 side.

“I had a point to prove this year and opening the batting came naturally to me and I worked hard on my power-hitting and trying to clear the ropes in the nets and middle practice.

“Thankfully it paid off and I was happy with my T20 form.

“This winter the Lions have got three T20 matches in Perth and then hopefully it (the form) continues next year with a better T20 campaign for Worcestershire and we can finally get to finals day and hopefully I can be a major part of that.”

Clarke has always maintained his desire to play for England and T2OIs forms part of that ambition.

He said: “”If I had another good season in T20 and knock on the door for higher honours in that format…..I’d love to play all formats for England.”

The Scorchers are using the three matches against the Lions as part of their preparations for the Big Bash.