Ed Barnard says the faith shown in him and Joe Clarke by Worcestershire Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes has been a key factor in their continuing development as players.

All-rounder Barnard and key batsman Clarke both came into the senior side mid-way through the 2015 campaign and have been virtual ever presents for the past two and a half seasons.

Barnard has just completed an excellent season which produced 580 runs and 47 wickets in the Championship and led to him being voted the Supporters’ Association Player Of The Year.

Clarke followed up his 1200 Championship runs in 2016 with another 920 from two less games and was also the Rapids leading scorer in the T20 Blast as he clinched another England Lions call-up this winter.

Former England Under-19 player Barnard believes that the belief in the ability of the pair of them as demonstrated by Rhodes – who is to take charge of the Under-19s on an interim basis this winter at the ICC World Cup – has been crucial.

He said: “I have absolutely loved it since I came into the side and I’d like to think it will keep going. We’ve obviously performed well enough for Bumpy to keep us in the side.

“To give us that faith, when so young, has been major in our improvement, especially with Joe who is probably not far off the England set-up I would have thought.

“That has been massive. Bumpy’s belief in us has been really key.

“With a lot of youngsters, you see them get put in the side and then taken out but he has just kept faith in us.

“Even at times when maybe we’ve not done quite as well, he has said ‘we think you are the right guys for the job’.

“That just gives you big confidence.”

*Read a full end of season interview with Ed Barnard on the Worcestershire CCC website during the next few days.