11th Dec, 2019

Rhodes backs Clarke for late Ashes call up

Rob George 16th Sep, 2017

TALENTED batsman Joe Clarke has been backed for a late push for a spot in the Ashes squad with a strong end to the current campaign.

Director of Steve Rhodes revealed his hopes for the young Pear if England decide there was enough space for an up-and-coming player for the tour later this year.

Clarke, a regular member of the England Lions set-up during the past two years, has enjoyed a successful second half of the campaign in the Specsavers County Championship and the NatWest T20 Blast.

Rhodes feels the 21-year-old could challenge for a place on the plane to Australia this winter if the selectors go down the route of taking along a player to give them valuable experience.

“If Joe carries on his form of this year, I’d be amazed if he wasn’t part of the Lions squad,” said Rhodes.

“If he ended the season with three really good matches then, who knows? If he got three decent scores in the last three games, you might then look at his run tally and start to think ‘could this lad get on an Ashes tour?’

“In the past, it might be a few years ago before central contracts, they (selectors) tended to take a bit of a flier, take a young player to Australia to gather experience. Didn’t play a lot of the games.

“James Whitaker (current National Selector) himself was one of them in 1986-87.”

Whitaker ended up playing one of the Tests on that successful tour 30 years ago as a replacement for the injured Ian Botham.

“If they have got enough room for someone like that, then someone like Joe ending the season well could push for a call-up,” added Rhodes.

However, speaking after England completed a series victory with a nine-wicket win over the West Indies, head coach Trevor Bayliss appeared to rule out any shock selections.

“I can’t see us going outside of the people that have played in the last 12 to 18 months,” said Bayliss.

“There are two or three positions that will probably take more time than the others to decide on, but I’m sure it will come from that group.”

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