ED Barnard says he wants to develop into “a proper batter” after being elevated into the Worcestershire top six — and believes it would boost his England Lions prospects.

The all-rounder has been a key member of the County bowling attack for the past three seasons as well as scoring crucial runs when part of the lower order with a first-class average of nearly 28 and 11 half-centuries.

But Barnard, 23, 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 last week’s rain-wrecked clash against Lancashire before being last out after he and his team-mates were given a searching examination by Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions.

Barnard made his Lions breakthrough last year during the ODIs against India A at Leicester, taking two wickets and scoring a quick 31, 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.”

Evidence of 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 where 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 last week and a few runs. Hopefully I can go on and get some big scores in the future.

“Giddo (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.”

Worcestershire are again in home action on Tuesday when they take on Sussex at Kidderminster looking for their batsmen to start firing on all cylinders.

Gidman said: “At the moment we are just in one of those little patches where three or four players are all struggling at the same time.

“They are all quality players and I have every faith, trust and belief in them all and I’m sure they will start to turn it around sooner rather than later.

“They are a very honest bunch. We know as a group that they are under-performing and not performing to the expectation levels that they set themselves, not by me but by themselves.

“I’m sure it will turn around soon.”