Steve Rhodes believes Ed Barnard has developed into "a better bowler, batsman and person" as a result of his winter of cricket in Australia.

Barnard was Worcestershire's second highest wicket-taker in the County Championship last summer with 31 victims – his first full year of senior cricket.

The 20-year-old also made some crucial late order contributions with the bat.

Now Rhodes says he has reaped the benefits of his five months Down Under playing grade cricket in Perth with Scarborough.

Rhodes said: "He had a good season last year in my view. He is very young. He is a three-dimensional cricketer and it is exciting to have him on board.

"He has had a super winter and he has come back a better player.

"We are very excited by giving him more game time in the first team and I do feel optimistic he is going to do well.

"Has he come back a better player? A better bowler, a better batter, a better person.One of the reasons for going away is not just cricket, it is to grow up and mature as human beings.

"He is another year older, another winter has gone and it was a great experience for him, especially out in Perth where the Aussies don't take a backward step.

"They give you quite a hard time and he has won over quite a lot of people and gained the respect of some great cricketers who have played there for a long time."

Rhodes confirmed earlier this week that Barnard would be part of the side to face Glamorgan in today's Specsavers County Championship opener with Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium.