Joe Clarke is relishing the opportunity to put one over his former teammates, as he becomes the latest of Nottinghamshire’s new arrivals to face his former county.
Clarke opened the batting with Ben Slater when the left-hander top-scored on his recent return to Derbyshire with a century, and the 22-year-old is hoping for similar success tomorrow.
“I’ve not seen any of the lads or the staff for a while, so I’m excited to be heading back,” said Clarke.
“I guess there will be a little bit extra on the game for me, and it will be a strange feeling to be going into the away dressing room, but I’ll be approaching it in the same way as any other match.
“I’ll be going there to do my best to get the win for Notts, and hopefully rub it in to the Worcester boys at the end of the game.”
The Outlaws have been all-conquering in the Royal London One-Day Cup so far, with a brace of record-breaking batting performances at Trent Bridge being the most memorable moments during their run of five consecutive wins.
Clarke’s peerless century was the highlight as Notts made 417-7 against Lancashire, and he was one of six batsmen to reach fifty as the Outlaws smashed their way to 437-7 – their second-highest List A score of all-time – against Leicestershire.
And the right-hander feels he could not have enjoyed a better start to life in the middle as a Notts player.
“I’m loving every bit of playing for Notts and getting to play at Trent Bridge week-in week-out,” said Clarke.
“As batsmen we’re lucky to be able to play on such good wickets, and it’s been great to be able to cash in on a couple of them.”
Good wickets have been allied with sizeable crowds, with Sunday’s Family Fun Day attendance being a particular standout.
The game against Yorkshire was watched by the highest ever domestic attendance at Trent Bridge, with 14,478 witnessing a commanding win.
“It was amazing to see that many people packed into Trent Bridge for a 50-over game,” said Clarke.
“It was certainly the most I’ve ever played in front of for a game like that, and it was great to be able to beat Yorkshire in front of such a big crowd and carry on the good form.”
Nottinghamshire are the only side in the country who are still able to boast a 100% record in white-ball cricket this season, with their run to the top of their group supported by strong performances throughout the side.
Clarke and Steven Mullaney are riding high in the list of highest limited-overs run scorers this season, while Luke Fletcher and James Pattinson are keeping pace with the front-running bowlers.
And Clarke believes this points to the all-round strength which can currently be found in Green and Gold.
“We’ve got a really strong squad, and we’ve been able to get some consistency over the past few weeks," he said.
“What has been crucial is that there’s always been somebody chipping in at a crucial moment, whether with the bat or the ball.
“It’s given us a bit of momentum, and hopefully we’ll carry that through the competition.”
After passing the halfway point of the group stage, Notts have a two-point cushion over second-placed Durham and hold a four-point advantage over Lancashire in the final play-off spot.
A win over Worcestershire could guarantee a play-off place, and all-but secure the Outlaws’ passage through to a home semi final.
But the dangers of looking too far ahead have been impressed on the Notts dressing room.
“You can’t help but have the knockout stages in the back of your mind, but Pete and Mull have been keen to remind us that we’ve achieved nothing yet," said Clarke.
“We may be five from five, but it’s only by carrying on winning games that we’ll put ourselves in position for the knockout stages.
“We need to take each game as it comes.”
Nottinghamshire have named a 14-man squad for the trip to Blackfinch New Road.
Paul Coughlin returns after a finger injury kept him out of the early stages of the limited-overs season, while there is also a call-up for Liam Patterson-White.
Ben Duckett is absent after he was added to the England squads for the the One Day International against Ireland and the IT20 against Pakistan.
Ben Slater continues to be sidelined through injury, while James Pattinson is rested.
Alex Hales remains unavailable for selection.
Notts Outlaws squad to face Worcestershire (from): Jake Ball, Matthew Carter, Zak Chappell, Joe Clarke, Paul Coughlin, Luke Fletcher, Lyndon James, Jake Libby, Tom Moores, Steven Mullaney (c), Chris Nash, Samit Patel, Liam Patterson-White, Luke Wood.
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