Monday, February 8th, 2016

Whiteley And Clarke Benefit From “terrific Learning Experience” With Lions

Whiteley And Clarke Benefit From “terrific Learning Experience” With Lions

Steve Rhodes says Ross Whiteley and Joe Clarke's winter spell with the England Lions has been a "terrific learning experience" for the Worcestershire duo.

Whiteley played in nine of the 10 T20 and 50 over matches against Pakistan 'A' in Dubai, only missing out on being selected for the final 50 over match last weekend.

Clarke played in one T20 match before suffering a quad injury and then four 50 over games before also not being chosen for the last 50 over game of the series.

Rhodes, who was part of the Lions coaching set-up, revealed the "hunger to succeed" of Whiteley and the determination of 19-year-old Clarke to push for England honours.

Worcestershire's Director of Cricket said: "Ross got a fifty when he put on some quick runs with Joe towards the end of one of the one-dayers.

"I think overall he will be frustrated that he didn't do a little bit more and that's mainly because he sets high standards and would have wanted to be really part of being a match-winner.

"That was quite tough for him, not to have got a few more runs, but the overall experience, having spoken to him, he thought it was terrific and he has learnt a lot, developed a lot in his game, slightly different to what his strengths are.

"He worked at working the ball around against the spinners to add to his power hitting game.

"Sadly for him, his power-hitting was slightly off the boil but the good thing for us going forward is he is ripe and ready and wants to have a really good start in Abu Dhabi with the Worcester boys.

"He is hungry to succeed and he wants the starting point to be Abu Dhabi and the start of our season."

Rhodes added: "With Joe Clarke, he is always impressive. As a 19-year-old kid, he has got time on his side but Joe definitely wants to be pushing for England honours. That is the way Joe is as a cricketer and as a person.

"He too missed out on the fifth One-Day game which he will be disappointed at. He batted it a bit down the order which meant he didn't have a lot of opportunities, or fewer opportunites.

"But he did get a good opportunity in the fourth one-dayer and sadly he didn't make his mark in that game and I think that cost him his selection for the fifth game.

"Again, having spoken to Joe, what a fantastic learning experience it has been for him to play alongside some very good players, to experience some different conditions and once again different coaches.

"For him to work with Andy Flower, Gary Kirsten and Graham Thorpe has been an excellent learning curve for him.

"Again going back to the forthcoming season, he is another lad who couldn't wait to get back with the Worcester boys and is looking forward to pre-season."

Clarke is keen to develop the wicket-keeping side of his game and eventually challenge strongly for possession of the gloves at New Road.

Rhodes said: "He was up again Ben Foakes and Sam Billings, they are more experienced wicket-keepers than Joe and they were always going to play ahead of him as a wicket-keeper.

"We did quite a bit of work but, having said that, once we got into playing phase, and Joe was down as a batter in the team, then he had to make sure his batting was on top of things.

"We all know he is a youngster and, if you think about it, he does okay in the field, with keeping wicket he does okay – and his batting is certainly his main strength at the moment."