21st Feb, 2020

Sharp: Clarke is the real deal

Rob George 4th Jul, 2018

PEARS chief Kevin Sharp has revealed he spoke to England captain Joe Root three years ago about batsman Joe Clarke and vowed the pair would bat together for their country one day.

Speaking after Clarke’s brilliant unbeaten 177 secured a thrilling draw with Nottinghamshire in the Specsavers County Championship at Trent Bridge, Sharp revealed his hopes the pair would meet in the middle for England in the future.

Clarke has reached the half-century mark for the county on 23 occasions since making his debut at senior level three years ago.

The England Lions batsman has gone on to turn 12 of those knocks into centuries – a conversion rate of 52.17 per cent.

“How good is Joe Clarke? He can go all the way for me. I spoke to Joe Root three years ago and told him he would bat with a guy called Joe Clarke one day and I think that will happen,” Sharp said.

“He is a high-class performer. We’ve seen that against Notts. Fantastic concentration and patience and skill and a real good nous in terms of cricket knowledge. He knows how to play the game.”

Clarke’s mammoth effort and support from the likes of Ben Cox, Ross Whiteley and youngster Ben Twohig, who batted 100 balls for his 35, enabled the county to hold on for a share of the spoils.

“I think overall Nottinghamshire played the better cricket. I think that is fair to say. With the bat, we had a couple of good scores, obviously Joe Clarke’s and Ross Whiteley’s in the first innings.

“But we got lads who got in and got out a bit and that, from our perspective, that was one of the disappointing things.

“In the field, we really stuck to our task. It’s been a good pitch and the lads have really worked hard and fought and scrapped and never given in.

“Even though we haven’t been at our best, there is a fantastic spirit amongst this group. They never give in and they keep going and, if you’ve just come second in the game, to come out with a draw is a great fillip for us.”

The four-day clash was the latest experiment in day/night championship cricket in this country, with the day’s play starting at 2pm and running on past 9pm.

“I’m not sure the lights have had much effect in the sense it’s the end of June and if the weather is nice you can play to nearly eight o’clock without lights,” Sharp said.

“I don’t see thousands of people coming in at six o’clock from work. I don’t want to condemn it. The pink ball goes soft quite early so there is a lot of thinking to be done.

“I get the reasons why this would happen and why we would play this sort of format but time will tell if it is the real future.”


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