Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Clarke Aming To Cement Spot In Rapids T20 Line-Up

Clarke Aming To Cement Spot In Rapids T20 Line-Up

Joe Clarke is hoping he can cement a place in Worcestershire Rapids side in the NatWest T20 Blast this summer as he prepares for his first innings for the County in the short format competition.

Clarke is included in the squad for tonight's T20 Blast 2016 opener against Durham Jets at New Road (5.30pm).

The 19-year-old's only involvement in 2015 was in the home quarter-final against Hampshire when he did not have a bat.

But since then he has played in the format for the England Lions during the winter and started the current campaign in prime form with three first class hundreds.

Clarke said: "I almost felt quite bad (playing in the quarter-final) because Richard Oliver had played all the games up to then and then.

"Just from Mo (Moeen Ali) coming back in and for the balance of the side, it worked out better if I fitted into the side.

"To get that confidence, from being put into a quarter-final and being backed to do a job was quite nice.

"I was in quite a lot of the squads and quite close to playing in a few of the games. I was a bit frustrated with that so to get the opportunity in the quarter-final was nice even though I didn't bat.

"It gave me a little sight of hopefully what is to come and fingers crossed I will have many happy memories of the T20 campaign this summer.

"Hopefully I will have a few more appearances in the T20 this summer and can cement myself in the T20 side and that we can go one better and get to finals day.

"For the lads and the club, that would be massive."

Clarke says England's power-hitting coach Julian Woods helped improve his T20 game during the Lions trip to the UAE.

He said: "In terms of T20, he was very good for my game and when Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) came out, he said how much he thought I had changed, that I could hit the ball a lot further now just from a little change in my technique."