27th Feb, 2020

Lions call-ups are reward for Pears pair

Rob George 23rd Sep, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

WORCESTERSHIRE duo Joe Clarke and Ross Whiteley have been named in the England Lions squad for the first time.

Clarke and Whiteley will feature in the Lions programme this winter against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The pair are initially part of an England Performance Programme squad which will form a batting and spin camp in Dubai from November 11 to December 1.

Clarke and Whiteley will then form part of the Lions squad which will take on Pakistan A in five T20 matches in the United Arab Emirates from December 1 to 17.

Clarke has been rewarded after making an instant impact at New Road following his breakthrough into the senior side in June.

The former England U19 wicketkeeper scored a series of fine half-centuries in the LV= County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup before notching his first century in both competitions.

Clarke hit an unbeaten 131 off 101 balls against Gloucestershire in the RLC and followed that with 101 not out against Sussex in the LV= CC match against Sussex at New Road.

Whiteley was the joint leading six-hitter in the country in the NatWest T20 Blast with 29 sixes including 11 against Yorkshire at Headingley.

He has also forced his way into the LV= CC side and put together a series of impressive scores including a century against champions Yorkshire at Scarborough.

The pair will see at least one familiar face in the Middle East after Pears Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes was named as part of the coaching set-up for the trip.

Former England wicketkeeper Rhodes is relishing the opportunity to work with Andy Flower – now the ECB’s technical director of elite coaching – and the ECB’s lead batting coach Graham Thorpe.

“It is an honour to be involved with any sort of national team. As a player I always wanted to play for England and the highest achievement is representing your national team in some capacity – and this is no different.

“But the most important thing in my development as a coach I think is spending time with the other coaches that are going to be out there, the likes of Andy Flower who is a man I’ve spent a lot of time with,” he added.

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