Worcestershire: Joe Leach replaces Daryl Mitchell as county captain

Daryl Mitchell
Daryl Mitchell had his benefit season in 2016

Worcestershire's Daryl Mitchell has been relieved of his position as county captain after six years in the role.

He is replaced as skipper by former Shropshire all-rounder Joe Leach, 25, who steps up from vice-captain.

Mitchell, 32, said on Twitter losing the captaincy was "devastating news".external-link

"It was tough news to take, and tough for me to give. I just felt we need to freshen things up. It's no slight against Daryl," Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told BBC Sport.

"He has done a fantastic job, got us two promotions in the County Championship and to two T20 quarter-finals.

Worcestershire vice-captain Joe Leach
Worcestershire vice-captain Joe Leach made his first century in three years, as well as taking seven wickets, in his side's final County Championship win of the season

"But, in Joe, we have a player who has shown he can have a really big impact on games. He was 10th in the MVP (Most Valuable Player) rankings in 2015 and was fourth this season."

Mitchell, one of few Worcestershire players who hails from within the county boundary, added, in a club statement: "Although I disagree with Bumpy's decision, I fully respect it.

"I know it has been made with the very best intentions. I would like to thank Bumpy for giving me the opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream of becoming captain of our great club."

Opening batsman Mitchell has scored almost 15,000 runs in all competitions since his debut for Worcestershire in 2005, including 24 first-class centuries.

Worcestershire came third in Division Two of the Championship in the season just finished, were beaten in the quarter-finals of the One-Day Cup by Somerset and failed to make it out of the group in the T20 Blast.

Born and bred in Worcestershire

When he succeeded Vikram Solanki as skipper in 2010, Badsey-born Daryl Mitchell was the first Worcestershire captain from within the current county boundary in 85 years - since Maurice Foster in 1925.

But his predecessor, Wolverhampton-bred Solanki, came through the ranks at New Road, as did a succession of locally-reared captains between 1952 and 1967.

Ronnie Bird, was from Quarry Bank, near Dudley, Reg Perks and Peter Richardson were born in Hereford, while Don Kenyon, captain of their 1964 and 1965 Championship winning sides, was born in Wordsley.

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