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News

Joe Clarke taken off England blacklist after standby call for West Indies

Clarke was mentioned in former team-mate Alex Hepburn's rape trial in 2019

Joe Clarke has been placed on standby by England  •  Getty Images

Joe Clarke has been placed on standby by England  •  Getty Images

Joe Clarke, the Nottinghamshire batter, has been taken off England's blacklist after being placed on standby for next month's Test tour to the Caribbean.
The Evening Standard reported that Clarke is among a number of non-travelling reserves for March's Test series against West Indies, who will be called upon in the event of a squad member contracting Covid-19 or being ruled out through injury.
Andrew Strauss, the ECB's interim managing director, refused to confirm the names of the players on England's standby list at Lord's on Wednesday, but clarified that James Anderson and Stuart Broad - the high-profile omissions from the squad - were not included.
"There are a number of non-travelling reserves," Strauss said. "We have identified a group of players who could come in if there are injuries, so we have asked them to prepare themselves as if they might get a call-up at some stage."
Clarke was mentioned in a court case involving his former Worcestershire team-mate Alex Hepburn, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2019 after he was found guilty of raping a woman in 2017 and has since been released.
The pair shared a flat in Worcester and during the course of his trial, the jury heard from the prosecution how Hepburn had "dehumanised" women as part of a "sexual conquest competition" on WhatsApp with Clarke and another ex-Worcestershire player, Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
Neither Clarke nor Kohler-Cadmore was arrested, nor suspected of an offence. Both were fined by the ECB, handed back-dated suspensions, and told they would not be considered for England selection until further notice.
Kohler-Cadmore was part of the England Lions tour to Australia in 2019-20 and named in an enlarged training group at the start of the following summer, but Clarke - once a regular feature in Lions squads - has not played for England at any level in the years since.
Clarke spoke about his involvement in an interview with ESPNcricinfo in 2020, saying at the time: "If I could take back everything that happened, in terms of the whole situation for all the parties involved, then I would. It runs through my mind every day."
Clarke's first-class form has been solid over the last two years - he has averaged 36.53 with two hundreds since the start of the 2020 season - but he has flourished in T20 cricket, impressing for Nottinghamshire in the Blast and recently for Melbourne Stars in the BBL.