STEVE Rhodes challenged his batsmen to raise their game in line with Worcestershire’s on-song bowling unit.

Saeed Ajmal (26), Gareth Andrew (20) and Jack Shantry (18) have all proved to be regular wicket-takers in the early stages of the LV= County Championship Division Two campaign.

However, aside from skipper Daryl Mitchell, who remains the leading run-scorer in the country after boosting his total to 667 with 135 over the two innings in this week’s 72-run win over Essex, the New Road batsmen have only shown patchy form.

County chief Rhodes said: “It (the batting) is a concern, definitely. We knew we would be light on batting, no (Alex) Hales, no Moeen (Ali) in this game, sadly only Daryl stood up again. I thought Ben Cox played well in the first innings.

“But it is just not enough. Early season, we've had Daryl playing so well but we've also had contributions. (Alexei) Kervezee got a hundred and there have been a few contributions here, there and everywhere with a few scores.

“But we need to sort that out and it is something we are trying our best to address. It's not going to be an overnight thing but we hope to bat a little bit better against Kent at Tunbridge Wells.”

Rhodes also singled out Saeed for special praise after his man-of-the-match display in taking a career-best match return of 13-94.

He added: “The ball didn't turn a great deal, but Saeed has got eight different deliveries. He maximises them and bowls them all and, if there is not a lot of turn, he bowls his fast stuff and when they start jabbing at it, he bowls his slow doosras.

“Playing against him is extremely difficult. He doesn't necessarily want it turning square, but he is just a real magician as we saw yesterday.

“He finished with wonderful figures and showed the international class that he has got in winning the game for us.”