Ed Barnard has ambitions to be what he terms “a proper batter” after being elevated into the Worcestershire top six for this week’s Specsavers County Championship clash with Lancashire at Blackfinch Road.
The all-rounder has been a key member of the Worcestershire attack for the past three seasons in addition to scoring crucial runs when part of the lower order and has a first class average of nearly 28.
The England Lions player clocked up his 150th first class wicket in the recent home encounter with Middlesex.
But Barnard is also keen to cement a spot as an established member of the batting group after being promoted by First Team Coach Alex Gidman.
He responded by top-scoring with 32 in the rain-wrecked draw against Lancashire before being last out after he and his team-mates were given a searching examination by Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions.
Barnard’s batting potential was evident during his England Under-19 days when he won two man of the match awards and scored a century to help his country to victory in a Test match in South Africa six and a half years ago.
Barnard said: “Is batting at number six a sign for the future? Hopefully. That’s kind of what I’ve always said where I wanted to bat. I want to end up in that top six.
“My ambition is to bat as high as I can. I want to be a proper batter.
“I’ve enjoyed batting at number eight and scoring a few runs but the higher up you bat, hopefully the more balls I get to face and the bigger scores will come.
“It’s nice to have got a chance this week and get to get a few runs. Hopefully I can go on and get some big scores in the future.
“Giddo (Alex Gidman) is quite keen for me to bat as high as I can. It’s something we have spoken about quite a lot recently.
“It also allows us to play that extra bowler, whether that is an extra seamer or a spinner at any point. Having a number six who can bowl his overs is quite good for the team.”
Barnard added: “Have I got the right temperament for the elevated role? I’d like to think so. It’s something I really want to test myself out on.
“It’s something I’m really working hard on in the nets, my technique and stuff like that, so hopefully I can take it out into the middle.
“I batted number five for the Under-19s. I’ve done a little bit up the order so hopefully it won’t be too alien.”
Barnard made his Lions breakthrough last year during the ODIs against India A at Leicester, taking two wickets and scoring a quickfire31, and West Indies A at Northampton when a nine wicket win denied him the chance of another knock.
He said: “Will batting higher up help my chances with the Lions? I think so. I want to be a three dimensional cricketer so if I can bat as high as I can and bowl as many overs and field as many balls as I can, then great. I want to be in the game as much as I can.”