Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Joe Hoping To Kick Start Season After “relief” At Scoring First Hundred

Joe Hoping To Kick Start Season After “relief” At Scoring First Hundred

Joe Clarke has revealed his relief at scoring his first century of 2017 – and the Worcestershire batsman is hoping it will kick start his season.

The England Lions batsman amassed 1200 Specsavers County Championship runs and six first class hundreds last summer.

But this year Clarke admits he has been frustrated at not converting several promising starts into major scores- until today.

His superb 142 in the home Championship clash with Kent earned Worcestershire a first innings lead of 76 and then they picked up three wickets as the visitors closed on 120-3.

Clarke said: "It is a relief if anything really. I've struggled really. I've been wanting to get big scores all season and it hasn't quite happened for me.

"I've been getting starts and not being able to go on. It was nice to go on past 20 or 30 and get a hundred.

"I've felt in good nick all year really. It's just been one of those things. I've kept getting to 20 and 30 and giving it away.

"It's been very frustrating and it's a relief to go on and get a hundred and hopefully that will kick start my season."

Clarke is hoping Worcestershire can press home their advantage on the third day and secure a win after a recent dip in results.

He said: "Is it a pivotal game? Definitely. After the recent form we've been in, losing the semi-final on Saturday and the two Championship games before that, it has been a poor period for us as players and we've not performed as we would like.

"We are against Kent, they are up there as well, and if we can get one over them, we will be in a really good position for Championship cricket.

"There is a bit in the pitch with the new ball. There is carry in it for the bowlers. It's just once it gets past 20 overs, it gets a bit slower and if you can get in, you can score runs.

"If we hit our areas tomorrow morning and get a couple of wickets, then we are right in it."

Clarke enjoyed his battle with Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah.

He said: "It was a great challenge. He's got a lot of tricks and that's why he is probably so successful in international cricket.

"It is good to come out the positive side of facing him really and not let him get me out.

"A great challenge and that's why you play cricket is to play against the best players."

Clarke felt skipper Joe Leach's 57 not out was a crucial innings.

He said: "It is a great skill that Joe has. We lost a couple of wickets and then he comes in and changes the momentum just by playing his natural game.

"That's the way he should play all the time. It's his best way of scoring runs, to take the attack to the bowlers, and it was a brilliant knock from him."