COVID can’t stop Clarke’s stunning form

Alex Mitchell |

A deadly virus and week in isolation proved no match for Joe Clarke’s hot form, with the Melbourne Stars’ Englishman blasting a fourth-straight half-century on Monday night.

He’s now scored 52, 85, 52 and 83 in his last four knocks and could join Usman Khawaja as the only other player to make five straight 50s in the BBL when the Stars take on the Perth Scorchers today.

What made Clarke’s 83 against Adelaide Strikers on Monday even more special was that he and a number of his teammates had only exited isolation after contracting COVID the day before the match.

It was no wonder he told Channel Seven he was “a bit rundown” after his 58-ball innings carried the Stars to a five-wicket win,

“A few boys got into some dark places in their rooms so it’s nice to collect all four points,” he said.

“This is nice to get a win after what the boys have been through the last week or so.

“I got out yesterday morning so I had like a 10-minute hit in the nets … I was cooked last night, it’s not ideal that we’ve got a game tomorrow as well.”

In news that would delight local cricketers around the globe, Clarke said the key to keeping his strong touch rolling was simple – shadow-batting.

“I said (to a psychologist) I felt like I was maybe gonna lose a bit of rhythm sitting in my hotel room for seven days and they said to keep visualising it and keep playing some shots in the mirror, so I was playing some shots in there,” he said.

Unfortunately for the fatigued Stars, they will have to front up again today and battle the league-leading Scorchers at Marvel Stadium.

They are now just one point behind fifth-placed Brisbane in the race for BBL finals.