Worcestershire:star Joe Clarke signs new three-year contract

Joe Clarke
Clarke averages 92.50 from three One-Day Cup innings this season

Worcestershire's England Under-19 international Joe Clarke has signed a new three-year contract at New Road.

The 19-year-old made his Championship debut against Hampshire in May and scored his first half-century against Warwickshire in his next match.

"It is really pleasing to get asked to sign a long-term contract. I'm absolutely thrilled," said Clarke.

"I see Worcestershire as a good place to develop my career," said the Shropshire-born wicketkeeper/batsman.

Clarke, from Trefonen, learned his formative cricket with his native county before graduating from the Worcestershire academy.

He has blossomed since being given his first-team chance, hitting three more half-centuries - against Hampshire, champions Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Joe Clarke: Future star
After a successful winter playing in Australia for South Perth, Clarke has earned his first-team chance at New Road through sheer weight of runs, when he became the first Worcestershire player to score two double hundreds for the Second XI.
In seven first-class matches so far he has scored 355 runs at an average of 32.27, with a top score of 88 against defending champions Yorkshire at Scarborough in July.
His knock of 131 not out against Gloucestershire in the One-Day Cup came off 109 balls and included 10 fours and three sixes. The next highest score in the Worcestershire total of 264 was 33.

He also struck an unbeaten 131 - his maiden century - against Gloucestershire in the One-Day Cup in August.

"I feel, as a youngster, there are a lot of opportunities at Worcestershire to play first-team cricket," added Clarke.

"It is a massive opportunity in these next three years for me to push myself and become a first-team regular, do well and push for international honours in the future."

Although he is concentrating on his batting at the moment, with Ben Cox the first-choice wicket-keeper, Clarke says having former England keeper Steve Rhodes as the county's director of cricket is helping him to develop his skills behind the stumps.

"He's been really assuring and made it a lot easier for me to have no hesitation in signing," said Clarke. "He has helped a lot with my keeping and is good to speak to about my batting as well. I see him really improving my cricket in the years to come."