Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Joe: Important To “trust In Your Game” During Difficult Times

Joe: Important To “trust In Your Game” During Difficult Times

Joe Clarke says it was important to retain "trust in your game" in battling through his first dip in form since earning a first team place with Worcestershire exactly two years ago.

Clarke sealed a spot in the side mid-way through the 2015 season after a double hundred for the Seconds against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham College and since then his potential has flourished.

By the end of that breakthrough campaign he was part of the England Lions squad and last season was Worcestershire's top-scorer with 1200 County Championship runs and five centuries.

But he admits the first two months of this summer have been a frustrating experience in failing to convert several promising starts into big scores – until last week.

That all changed as Clarke hit two centuries against Kent and he also made an important 45 in difficult conditions at Durham with a pink duke ball.

It was enough to seal a Lions recall for the three day game with South Africa on his home New Road ground starting tomorrow.

Clarke said: "What has this season been like? It's just been frustrating. I'd already stepped up the amount of work in the nets and practice.

"You just start to think in your head really, and in your head it's more of a mental thing, trying to just say to yourself that you are still basically good enough to get those scores.

"They do seem so far away when you haven't got one for a while. You have to just trust in your game, trust in your skills.

"I didn't really know when it (a big score) was going to happen. I had felt in good nick all year but would get to 20 and 30 and get out.

"I'm glad it happened last week against Kent and I can go on from there and just go for as many (hundreds) as I can."

Clarke's return to form was timely after not being selected for the early Lions games this summer.

He said: "I guess I haven't been scoring the runs that they would like me to so, of course, it always comes as a disappointment because you always liked to be picked.

"I guess it makes you hungrier to get picked next time. I always think about the Lions but I don't want to think too far ahead.

"That's something I've been guilty of in the past and I've just concentrated on trying to score runs for Worcester and that will take care of itself."

Clarke would dearly like to emulate another Worcestershire batsman who scored a hundred for the Lions against the tourists at New Road eight years ago.

Stephen Moore hit 120 in a drawn game against Australia in 2009 in which his County team-mates Steven Davies and Vikram Solanki also featured.

*Tickets are still available for the Lions match priced £16 for adults and £5 for juniors aged 17 and under.