Joe Clarke has hailed the infuence of Worcestershire batting coach Kevin Sharp in helping him to bat for longer spells out in the middle.

The England Under-19s wicket-keeper admits occupying the crease for substantial periods was something he struggled with in junior cricket.

But working with Sharp, initially when Shropshire coach and then since arriving at New Road, has had a positive impact on Clarke who last summer scored 222 against MCC Young Cricketers – Worcestershire's highest ever Second Eleven Championship score.

Clarke said: "Kevin has been a big influence, definitely, certainly last summer. I already knew him from Shropshire. We already had that bond where we could talk to each other honestly about my game.

"I spent quite a lot of time with him last summer and that was a good factor in the amount of runs I scored in the second eleven, that I could always go to him.

"I felt comfortable going to him for help and advice. He definitely helped me last summer."

Clarke added: "One thing I struggled with throughout junior cricket was batting for long periods.

"You have that sort of goal, especially in the second eleven, and Kevin has sort of nailed it into me, that 50-60s don't really get you anywhere, but it's the big hundreds and double hundreds that get you noticed.

"He's drilled that into me and I've learnt to bat for a long period and once you do it, it becomes a lot easier to do again."

*Joe Clarke is featured in the next edition of Worcestershire's 365 Magazine which will be appearing in April.