Clark gives balance and ballast as he grows in stature at Surrey

But perhaps the most momentous milestone of the lot was the first: Jordan Clark’s career-best six for 21 that routed Hampshire’s powerful middle order to bowl them out for 92, a position from which Surrey never looked back. 

It was also a performance that underscored a fine start to the season for Clark. As the mainstay of a rotating seam attack, he has 14 wickets at under 23; from No7, he has two half-centuries. In his third season at the county after moving from Lancashire, Cumbrian Clark is really settling, as indicated by his receipt of an Oval Invincibles deal for the Hundred this summer. 

“I’ve never really been given this much responsibility and opportunity on the bowling front,” he tells Standard Sport. “I think it’s really helped me focus and I’m reaping the rewards. I feel really controlled, so I am in a good space and hopefully can continue throughout the season.”

Clark is the only ever-present seamer in the side, a run that is set to continue tomorrow against Leicestershire. Kemar Roach misses out with a back issue, but Reece Topley returns from rest. 

“The bowlers are going so well at the minute, everyone is complementing each other so well,” he says. “We’ve got Kemar who bangs through his overs, Rikki [Clarke] is so consistent. Me, Jamie [Overton] and Toppers are strike bowlers. It’s nice to be given that continuous responsibility and to know you are going to get a go, so you can take the pressure off yourself searching some times.”

Clark was signed as a successor to his very-nearly-namesake Rikki, the evergreen all-rounder who is a club legend despite spending all those years away. They are beginning to combine neatly, especially with the ball, but offering batting ballast too. Clarke is 40 in September and out of contract, but it seems unthinkable that he will not be offered a new deal. 

“You watch Rikki, he’s so natural at what he does,” he says. “Whether that’s bowling at off stump every ball, catching, batting. It comes very easily to him. He does the boring stuff very well in training, so it’s nice to watch his processes and how he takes that into the game, because he knows it’s nailed on in training. He’s at the back end of his career now, it’s so ingrained in the way he goes about things. That’s something we all learn off Rikki, he’s one of cricket’s natural talents.”

Clark did not break into Lancashire’s first-team until his mid-twenties, so could he follow the same path, deep into his thirties? 

Getty Images for Surrey CCC

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