ALL-ROUNDER Ross Whiteley and promising wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Clarke have pledged their futures to Worcestershire by signing long-term contracts.
Big-hitting Whiteley has signed a four-year deal taking him to the end of the 2019 season, while Clarke signed a three-year-deal.
The 19-year-old still had one year remaining of his current deal but has put pen to paper on a contract through until the end of the 2018 campaign.
After putting pen to paper, the talented teenager revealed the county was the ‘perfect platform’ to help him achieve his goal of playing for England.
Clarke made his LV= County Championship debut against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl in late May and scored his maiden 50 in the next match against Warwickshire at New Road.
He followed that up with 70 against Hampshire at New Road, 88 versus champions and current leaders Yorkshire at Scarborough and 67 in the last match against visiting Nottinghamshire.
Clarke has also appeared in the county’s last three Royal London One-Day Cup matches and followed up 54 against Surrey at the Kia Oval with a superb 131 not out off the Gloucestershire attack at New Road.
“It is really pleasing to get asked to sign a long-term contract, I’m absolutely thrilled to be honest,” he said.
“I see Worcestershire as a good place to develop my career. I’ve talked to Moeen (Ali) quite a lot about the route he has gone down with Worcestershire and my aim is to play for England.
“I feel as a youngster there are a lot of opportunities at Worcestershire to play first team cricket.
“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.”
Whiteley said: “I’m really excited about what the next four years holds for me at Worcester.
“I’ve really enjoyed my cricket over the last couple of years here and to have that opportunity to stay for another four years is massive for me.
“It’s great that someone has that confidence in me. My move from Derby when Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) took me on initially for three years showed a lot of confidence in me, having not seen that much of me play,” he added.
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “Joe is a bright prospect, a terrific batter, can keep wicket and he is certainly one player for the future.
“I’m sure already the Worcestershire supporters are enjoying watching him bat, but they are going to enjoy quite a few more knocks in the future.
“Ross is a match-winner with the potential to play well in all formats and I’m delighted to have him on board for another lengthy period of time via this new contract.
“We want to keep our good players and to have Ross with us for another four years is unbelievably fantastic news,” he added.