Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Rhodes: Clarke Can Push For Ashes Squad Spot With Strong End To Season

Steve Rhodes believes Joe Clarke could push for a spot in the Ashes squad – if there is sufficient space to accommodate an up and coming player – with a strong end to the current campaign with Worcestershire.

Clarke, a regular member of the England Lions set-up during the past two years, has enjoyed a successful second half of the campaign in the Specsavers County Championship and the NatWest T20 Blast.

Director Of Cricket Rhodes feels the 21-year-old could challenge for a place on the plane to Australia this winter if the selectors go down the route of taking along a player to give them valuable experience.

Rhodes said: “If Joe carries on his form of this year, I’d be amazed if he wasn’t part of the Lions squad.

“If he ended the season with three really good matches then, who knows?

“If he got three decent scores in the last three games, you might then look at his run tally and start to think ‘could this lad get on an Ashes tour?’

“In the past, it might be a few years ago before central contracts, they (selectors) tended to take a bit of a flier, take a young player to Australia to gather experience. Didn’t play a lot of the games.

“James Whitaker (current National Selector) himself was one of them in 1986-87.

“If they have got enough room for someone like that, then someone like Joe ending the season well could push for that.”

Whitaker ended up playing one of the Tests on that successful tour 30 years ago as a replacement for the injured Ian Botham.