Steve Rhodes believes Alex Hepburn has developed into a" more mature cricketer and person" as he praised his first half of the winter performances for Willetton in his native Australia.

And Worcestershire's Director Of Cricket says being an all-rounder means Hepburn has different potential roles at his disposal when it comes to striving for that first team spot.

Hepburn was Willetton's leading run-scorer in all one-day and two-day cricket for the first half of the campaign with 409 runs at an average of 40.90 including a century against University.

But Rhodes is hoping he will also return to New Road bowling a yard quicker as he looks to step up his challenge for a first team role next sumer after signing a new one year contract in September.

Rhodes said: "I'm really pleased. His club side, he has stuck by them. They have not always given him the opportunities and to be fair they've made him work for the opportunities.

"He has started to get them this year and thankfully, because he is definitely a more mature cricketer and person, he is now starting to show some performances that warrant the opportunities his club have given him.

"We are also hoping he can come back a yard quicker with the ball – and that is one of his goals for the winter – and be attacking the crease a little bit harder.

"That would be a real benefit to him as an all-rounder but also to make sure when given the opportunity, he scores some big runs.

"To see him get a hundred in 'A' grade was really pleasing and he needs to kick on now and get another one or two."

Rhodes added: "As an all-rounder, it is a great position to be in. You've got three strings to your bow.

"You bat, bowl and field and that means you could fulfil several positions in the side. It is not just like you are an opening batsman or a number three.

"Alex is going to want to challenge for a middle order spot but he also recognises he might be able to challenge for a back-up seam bowling, second change type who bats seven or eight.

"He is well aware that he has got a couple of options and whan he can do is everytime he gets a chance to bat, he scores runs and everytime he gets a chance to bowl, he does well with the ball."