Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes believes the current squad of Worcestershire players are capable of taking further strides forward in terms of developing and improving their game.

Rhodes saw the group make big steps forward in 2014 when the county gained promotion back to Division One of the LV = County Championship.

And the former England wicket-keeper is optimistic they can make further progress forward this summer and several of them have acquitted themselves well this winter in Australia playing grade cricket.

He said: "I think what it tells us, which is my optimism for the season as well as the future, is that this group of players is still a young, developing, growing group of players.

"What I mean by that is that they are at the stage in their careers where you expect and should get improvement.

"They are not at the stage of their career where they can't improve anymore or, if anything, they are going to drop off.

"This lot could improve more and more from last year so, if they do, that's got to be a good thing for us."

Rhodes added: "You go through our squad and pick out some of the names. Richard Oliver, he played seven Championship games last year and averaged 39 and he has come straight from league cricket.

"He hasn't even had a pre-season, ever. It is exciting the improvement that he could show again.

"Mitch (skipper Daryl Mitchell) is going to struggle to have as good a year as he had last year but he is still at an age (31) where he can improve.

"Giddo (Alex Gidman), you could argue he is not going to improve masses, but if he can do anything like he did last year, that is going to be a good thing.

"But Tom Fell, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, if they improve at the rate they should, there is more to come from them.

"Alexei Kervezee had a better year and if he can improve even more, then he is going to put himself to where he should be, which is knocking on the door of the England Lions.

"If he can have a consistent season, then he may well be able to knock on the door of that one.

"Ross Whiteley, potentially, we all know what fantastic talent he has got, and if he can progress and do even better this year…..they are all growing.

"Charlie Morris could grow more, Joe Leach, Joe Clarke and Ed Barnard, Coxy (Ben Cox), even Shants (Jack Shantry), Chris Russell.

"It is all about getting better and they've got room to get better.

"If they all get better, or some of them get better, then that means we will be in a better state, that we will need to in the division we are in, but why not be optimistic?"