Friday, October 13th, 2017

Rhodes Backing Clarke To Have “big Winter” With Lions

Steve Rhodes is backing Worcestershire wicket-keeper-batsman Joe Clarke to “have a big winter” with England Lions.

Clarke will be part of a Lions training camp in Australia in November and December running alongside the senior squad who will be preparing for the Ashes.

The 21-year-old has been a regular member of the Lions set-up for the past two years since first appearing against Pakistan A in the UAE.

Director Of Cricket Rhodes believes Clarke has become a better player during the past 12 months after the Lions asked him to work on certain aspects of his game.

Rhodes said: “I think he was a little bit unlucky last winter in that he got a little injury that he played with when he kept wicket for Ben Foakes.

“Because he kept wicket and he had a little injury himself, it meant he batted number seven and suddenly the other guys had a chance – and they took their chance.

“Hopefully this time he will be getting a proper middle order spot, hopefully number four, his true position, and he will show what he can do.

“He is a better player now than he was last year and the reason for that is he has worked on some areas they wanted him to work on but he wanted to work on.

“He is generally a tighter player but he hasn’t lost any of his aggression and so he is in a far better spot technically as well as mentally and, you know what, I think he will have a big winter.”

Rhodes added: “He knows he has got to do well. The only issue he will have is if he tries too hard and doesn’t let his natural self and talent come through.

“He is in a good spot, he doesn’t need to worry, and if he just concentrates on that ball, I’m sure he will do well.

“He will be in In Australia and what a great place to try and impress.

“You are in a country where there is a wonderful Ashes series going on and you are part of an elite group of players that could be the next best.

“What a great tour for him to be involved with.”