New vice-captain Joe Leach says it "does my head in" that Worcestershire are constantly labelled as "over-achievers" and does a disservice to the quality of player now at New Road.

Leach accepts Worcestershire are underdogs in the sense that many other counties have bigger wage bills.

But the all-rounder says "it is about time" Worcestershire's group of players were respected for the talent there is in the squad – in the same way as Leicester City's footballers have shown this season what can be achieved with a smaller budget.

Last season Worcestershire came close to staying up in the County Championship and toppled the likes of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Durham on their own grounds in the NatWest T20 Blast in reaching the quarter-finals.

Leach said: "Everytime you listen to the TV or the radio, all you hear about is how we are the perennial over-achievers and things like that which, to be honest, does my head in.

"I think that is disrespectful to the cricketers we've got here now and it is up to us to go and prove that.

"It does frustrate me and I'm sure it frustrates other people as well.

"I know Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) likes the underdog status and, of course, we are going to be an underdog because we are a small county.

"When you go to the likes of The Oval, Old Trafford, places like that with wage bills that are a lot bigger than ours, than of course we are going to be underdogs.

"But in much the same way as Leicester have done in the Premier League this year with a smaller wage bill, they've just got talented footballers and I think it is about time we were respected as talented cricketers in our own right."

Leach added: "When we go to big places, we expect to go there and win. We don't expect to go there and make up the numbers. We are just going to have to prove that this season.

"If we can win Division Two comfortably or something like that or get to finals day in the T20 and win that, or do well in the 50 over competition, then people outside are going to start looking at us as a proper side with proper cricketers rather than that perennial 'we are over-achieving' thing.

"I think we've started to turn a few heads with the way we played in Division One last year.

"Obviously the results ultimately didn't keep us up but I think the way we played started to turn a few heads.

"Now we've got that little bit more expectation on us, it would be nice to prove people right or wrong depending on which camp they are in."