Steve Rhodes is hoping Worcestershire batsman Alexei Kervezee will reap the benefits of working on "the mental side of his game" during the winter months after returning to the first team squad for the start of the 2016 campaign.

Kervezee did not play any senior cricket for the County after the home County Championship match against Durham in early June last summer.

But the departure of Richard Oliver, the enforced retirement of Alex Gidman and the current battle of Tom Fell against cancer have created an opportunity in the batting line-up.

Kervezee is still only 25 and scored half centuries against Oxford MCCU and Warwickshire to press his claims to be part of the side to face Kent at New Road tomorrow in the opening Specsavers County Championship clash.

Director Of Cricket Rhodes said: "Players go up and down with form, players go and up down with stages they are in their career regarding performing well and not so well.

"The good thing Alexei has done this winter is work extremely hard on the mental side of his game actually and worked very closely with Kevin Sharp (batting coach).

"He has come up with some good formulas which look quite exciting regarding the summer ahead of us.

"It is important he sticks with what he has learnt this winter and hopefully he will carry on some good form.

"He played well at Oxford in the second innings and he played well at Edgbaston against a reasonable attack so he has started well in the pre-season games really well.

"When Alex Gidman sadly had to finish his career through injury, Richard Oliver didn't come back and now we have the situation with Tom Fell, doors do shut for some but they open for others.

"Alexei has the potential to stake a claim."