Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

County Batting Coach Sharp Believes Clarke Can Have “special Future”

County Batting Coach Sharp Believes Clarke Can Have “special Future”

Worcestershire Second Eleven Coach Kevin Sharp believes Joe Clarke is one of those brand of cricketers who can look forward to a "special future" in the game.

Sharp, who is also the County's batting coach, had the same feeling when he worked with the likes of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow as part of the coaching hierarchy at Yorkshire.

He has worked closely with Clarke since his days as coach with Shropshire and that has continued since he joined the New Road set-up nearly two years ago.

Now Clarke has seized his opportunity at senior level following his second double hundred for the Second Eleven and has been rewarded with an England Lions spot this winter.

The 19-year-old has also signed a new three year contract at New Road until the end of the 2018 campaign.

Sharp said: "I was introduced to Joe in Shropshire three or four years ago and he played Minor Counties cricket as quite a young lad and his development is rapid.

"He is a steely young man who loves the pressure situations. He thrives on them.

"The more pressure and the bigger the crowd and all the crowds, the more he relishes it which not everyone does.

"That tells you that there is really something quite special about him."

Sharp added: "From a batting perspective, you occasionally come across someone who has got a really nice package.

"When I go back to my days at Yorkshire, Joe Root was one of those and you kind of got a feeling about him from when he was 13.

"It was the same with Jonny Bairstow as well. You thought 'these guys have got special futures' and I certainly feel the same about Joe.

"He is kicking on, has settled into first class cricket very well indeed, he has looked the part and it is fantastic he has got on this Lions tour this winter, well deserved.

"I know speaking to one or two players around the circuit who have seen Joe, there have been a couple of comments made to me by very senior players, one of them an international, basically saying Joe is one of the best young players they've seen for a long time.

"He is a smashing lad and loves Worcestershire, has just signed a new contract, and it is great. It really is nice to see."