Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Clarke Handed Chance To Stake England Claim With North V South Call-Up

Clarke Handed Chance To Stake England Claim With North V South Call-Up

Joe Clarke has been given the chance to further press his England claims by being included in the North squad for the trio of 50 over matches versus the South in the UAE in March.

The Worcestershire batsman has already been selected for the England Lions tour of Sri Lanka in February and early March.

Now the 20-year-old will have an opportunity to impress England head coach Trevor Bayliss, National Selector James Whitaker plus Otis Gibson and Paul Farbrace, senior members of the England coaching staff who will lead the North and South sides respectively.

Worcestershire Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes believes Clarke can boost his England ambitions with some impressive performances for the Lions and the North during the second half of the winter.

He said: "I'm delighted and I think it is well deserved. He is the best young batsman in the country so to have another stage, as well as the Lions, to show his potential and his class will be really good for his future.

"Joe is desperate to become a full England international and the Lions form, as well as getting some runs in the North versus South games, I think will go a long way towards him achieving his ambition of playing for England."

Whitaker said: “For all the players selected, the North versus South series is a platform to make an impression.

"As Andrew Strauss said when he introduced the series before the start of the 2016 season, we see it as an important addition to our selection process in 50-over cricket, ahead of the two major global events we are staging over the next three summers – the Champions Trophy next year, and the World Cup in 2019.

“With the calibre of the squads we have selected, we are confident there will be an intense and high-quality level of competition that allows us to assess players who are currently just outside the England squad, and their ability to perform at that higher level.

“The teams will be led by two members of the senior England coaching staff – Paul Farbrace with the South, and Ottis Gibson with the North. They were both involved in the selection process, and the England head coach Trevor Bayliss will be attending the matches with me next March.”

Four players in each team had already earned their places through their performances in the 2016 Royal London One-Day Cup, measured by the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s Most Valuable Player rankings.

Ben Duckett, Graeme White, Tim Bresnan and Harry Gurney qualified from the North Group, with Liam Dawson, Matt Coles and the Somerset pair Lewis Gregory and Tim Groenewald qualifying from the South Group.

The selectors have added eight members of the Lions squad announced earlier this week for the one-day series against Sri Lanka A in March.

Keaton Jennings, Clarke, Liam Livingstone and Josh Poysden will link up with the North squad, and Tom Alsop, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Ben Foakes and Tom Curran to the South.

Clarke and his Lions team-mates will head direct to Dubai from Sri Lanka at the end of the Lions tour.

The squads will gather in Dubai ahead of warm-up matches on March 15, with the first two matches of the series at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on March 17 and 19 before it concludes at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on March 21.

Squads for North versus South series, March 2017

North: K Jennings (Durham, capt), B Duckett (Northamptonshire Steelbacks*), S Hain (Warwickshire), J Clarke (Worcestershire Rapids, wk), L Livingstone (Lancashire Lightning), J Leaning (Yorkshire Vikings), T Bresnan (Yorkshire Vikings*), J Poysden (Warwickshire), G White (Northamptonshire Steelbacks*), M Wood (Durham), S Mahmood (Lancashire Lightning), R Gleeson (Northamptonshire Steelbacks), H Gurney (Notts Outlaws*).

South: J Vince (Hampshire, capt), D Bell-Drummond (Kent Spitfires), T Alsop (Hampshire), D Malan (Middlesex), S Northeast (Kent Spitfires), L Dawson (Hampshire*), B Foakes (Surrey, wk), T Curran (Surrey), L Gregory (Somerset*), T Groenewald (Somerset*), M Coles (Kent Spitfires*), S Finn (Middlesex), M Crane (Hampshire).

* – automatic selection through position in Professional Cricketers’ Association’s Most Valuable Player rankings for the 2016 Royal London One-Day Cup