Friday, April 15th, 2016

Clarke Determined To Continue Progressing With Wicket-Keeping Skills

Clarke Determined To Continue Progressing With Wicket-Keeping Skills

Joe Clarke says he is determined to ensure his wicket-keeping skills continue to improve alongside his development as a batsman.

The Worcestershire player says he does not want the two facets of his game "to go in different directions" during the 2016 campaign.

Clarke was part of the Lions squad in Dubai during the winter and he was restricted to two appearances behind the stumps in warm-up fixtures against the UAE before reverting to playing as batsman in the pre Christmas T20 and post Christmas 50 over matches with Pakistan 'A'.

But Clarke, who kept wicket for the England Under-19s, put in as much practice glove work as possible with the Lions during the winter – including with Worcestershire Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes – and regards wicket-keeping as an important element going forward in his career.

Clarke said: "How did the wicket-keeping go during the winter? The first trip (in November-December) was really good. We had three weeks training so I got quite a lot of wicket-keeping done then, played in a couple of the warm-up games against the UAE as keeper and felt really good.

"The second trip (in January) was a bit more limited. Obviously we had quite a settled side and Sam Billings was keeping wicket.

"I tried to do as much as I could away from focusing on the batting for that role I was in the side for.

"I was always getting Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) to throw balls at me for an extra 20 minutes after training."

Clarke added: "I kept over in Abu Dhabi (during Worcs pre-season tour) and actually feel quite good about it at the moment.

"I think it is going to be be a case of doing as much of it as I can as the season progresses.

"I don't want it to be the case where my keeping and my batting go in different directions.

"I want to get to similar levels. I feel as if it is not that far away but I think there is a bit of work to do if I am to be where I want to be (with my keeping).

"Am I still developing as a keeper? Massively. I feel as if I've got the fundamentals now. It's all about putting that all together and finding the finishing article which hopefully is not too far away.

"I don't think it is. Hopefully more hard work and more hard work and it will be around the corner."