Joe Clarke’s hopes of playing for the full England cricket team have taken a major step forward with his selection for the MCC team to play county champions Middlesex in the traditional curtain-raiser to the 2017 English season.
The 20-year-old former Oswestry batsman from Trefonen will play alongside Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett, who both made their Test debuts for England this winter, in the four-day fixture which gets under way in Abu Dhabi on March 26.
“I’m very pleased to be selected in a very youthful and strong MCC side containing some current England cricketers,” said Clarke, who plays for Worcestershire in the County Championship.
“In a busy winter it’s a great opportunity to put in a performance against the current champions.
“And it’s the perfect fixture to prepare myself for the start of the season with Worcestershire.”
The game in Abu Dhabi will be played with a pink ball under lights – conditions which take on particular significance this year as England are due to take part in their first day/night Test against West Indies at Edgbaston in August.
MCC head of cricket John Stephenson said: “Having worked closely with the England selectors to assemble this group, I am very pleased with the fantastic talent we have at our disposal.
“Haseeb Hameed, Joe Clarke and Ben Duckett are three of the most exciting batsmen in the country at the moment, and I’m looking forward to seeing them.”
Before for that Abu Dhabi date, Clarke flies out to Sri Lanka next week as one of only 10 players to be chosen for both the First Class and one-day legs of an England Lions tour. Hameed is in the 15-man First Class squad, and Duckett will pay in the five-match 50-over series.
The Lions squad is captained by Keaton Jennings, the Durham opener who made a century on his Test debut against India in Mumbai during the winter.