A FORMER Worcestershire cricketer says he regrets his actions and “would do everything differently” in his first public interview since one of his teammates was jailed for rape.

Joe Clarke was a friend and teammate of Alex Hepburn, who was jailed for rape last year.

The trial heard the victim had thought she was in bed with Mr Clarke only later discovering Hepburn had got into bed with her after Mr Clarke went to the bathroom.

It was also revealed during the case that Hepburn and Mr Clarke were part of a vile sexual conquests WhatsApp chat which was later used as evidence in the trial.

Speaking to ESPNCricinfo’s Jon Culley, Clarke said: “If I could go back and change what happened, I would, for all the parties involved. That thought runs through my mind every day.”

The 23 year-old talked about how the case, which saw Hepburn jailed for five years, affected his season - he had left Worcestershire for Nottinghamshire in 2018 - and struggled after an initially bright start in which he nearly made twin centuries on debut.

Mr Clarke, who made his debut for Worcestershire aged just 18 in 2015, said the court case had a negative effect on his season and he had struggled to cope with the effects of the trial, in which he was not accused, but gave evidence.

He added: “It was difficult last season to go out there and focus on my game. It was the first time in my career that I’d walked out to the middle with something in my mind other than my batting.

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“Lots of players have things going on in their personal lives but after the court case mine were in the public domain, for everyone to see. I couldn’t leave them behind. I might try to but, in the early weeks of the season at least, I’d hear things said, sometimes in the crowd, sometimes by opposition players. Then it was at the front of my mind again.

“Looking back now, the way I am now, I don’t think it would affect me as much as it did. But at the time it was very raw. There were so many emotions going through my mind.”

The aftermath of the case saw Mr Clarke and his former team-mate Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who was also in the WhatsApp group, charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The pair were fined £2,000 and banned for four matches.