Monday, February 6th, 2017

Sharp: Lions Bound Clarke Has Mental Strength For The Big Occasion

Sharp: Lions Bound Clarke Has Mental Strength For The Big Occasion

Worcestershire batting coach Kevin Sharp says Joe Clarke has shown signs of having the mental strength and tactical awareness needed at "the very highest level" as he prepares for his latest stint of England Lions action.

Clarke flies out today with his Lions team-mates for the five week tour of Sri Lanka incorporating two four-day and five one-day clashes with the 'A' side.

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes has already paid Clarke the compliment of having a similar "batting nous" to Joe Root with whom Sharp worked with from the age of 13 when part of the Yorkshire coaching set-up.

Sharp, who is also the County's Second Eleven coach, said: "They are smart lads. They work things out quickly and they relish the bigger occasion. The bigger the occasion, it's almost like the better the challenge. It's in their DNA.

"Those are the sort of things you are going to need if you are going to play at the highest level under pressure, in front of TV, the crowds, the media.

"All those things, you have to be able to deal with and Joe (Clarke) is a real talent. There is no doubt about that.

"He has got the technical skill. The all-round mentality for such a young man is very strong.

"He is very hungry, he is a confident lad, he believes in himself, he likes to take it to the opposition. He doesn't like the bowlers to dominate and he believes he can do it.

"The self belief…..once you get to this level of cricket, everyone can play cricket and then you've got lots of talent – but talent is not just enough

"It's the mental strength and ultimately through that, the tactical awareness which will bring you through, the all-round package – the fitness, the lifestyle and that tactical and mental strength.

"Those will be the difference between those who go on and play at the very highest level. It certainly looks as if he has got that.

"You never know what can happen in life but just occasionally someone comes around and you think 'mmmm, there is a package there.'"