ALL-ROUNDER Joe Leach has revealed the ‘time was right’ for him to step down as Worcestershire CCC skipper after five years in the role.
Leach is leading the side for the final time in an official capacity in the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Leicestershire at New Road this week.
The 30-year-old will continue to have a key role to play for Worcestershire as a player in the forthcoming seasons after taking the decision himself to relinquish the captaincy role.
Leach took over as club captain from Daryl Mitchell at the end of the 2016 season and led the side to promotion in the County Championship 12 months later.
“It’s obviously been a very tough one, one that has been on my mind for some time, if I’m honest,” he said,
“I made the decision just before the home game with Sussex three weeks ago this was going to be my final season as captain.
“It was a difficult decision to make, but one that I feel is right, not only for myself but also for the group as well.
“I’ve done it for five years, and I’m immensely proud of what I’ve managed to achieve in some difficult times for the club
“I’ve had a lot of things to deal with on and off the field, and now I guess the time is right to focus on my cricket and getting back to really enjoying it and doing the best I can with the bat and the ball.
“That last day against Durham when we went up as champions was definitely the highlight from a personal point of view and holding the Division Two trophy aloft at New Road.”
Head coach Alex Gidman, paid tribute to Leach, who in his career has taken 326 first class wickets and scored 3,284 first class runs.
“His efforts as a captain have been of the highest order, and he has led the team through some very challenging times and has done an exceptional job. He should be very proud of his efforts, and I’m sure he will look forward to some more successful years as a bowling all-rounder for us.
“We’ve got a great relationship, and that will continue. We’ve had our differences of opinion, which any healthy relationship has, and we can challenge each other very well.
Cricket Steering Group chairman Paul Pridgeon, said: “Joe has been a fantastic servant of the club and has done a terrific job as captain over the last five years. He has grown into the job, is an excellent ambassador for the club and the players under his control.”
AS WORCESTERSHIRE CCC look for their third captain in 13 years, we take a look at the likely candidates.
Ben Cox – the highly-rated wicketkeeper has enjoyed success behind the stumps and played the starring role in the club’s 2018 Blast triumph. Entrusted with the captaincy during the 2021 season, Cox let no-one down but will the Pears hierarchy be concerned about the possible workload?
Jake Libby – the former Nottinghamshire batsman has enjoyed a renaissance since swapping the Trent for the Severn. Libby has already been mentioned as possible captaincy material by Paul Pridgeon. However with the retirement of Daryl Mitchell this autumn, will the club want their prolific opener to focus on runs rather than field placings and bowling changes?
Brett D’Oliveira – the talented all-rounder has something to offer in all departments for the Pears and plays in all formats. Is it too early to burden him with the captaincy and the historic impact of a D’Oliveria leading Worcestershire?
Moeen Ali – Moeen’s red-ball future with England is not guaranteed amid a summer of Test match defeats. With only a limited overs central contract, could the club approach their talisman to devote much of the season to the Pears?
Matthew Wade – the Pears hierarchy have pulled off a coup bringing the Aussie over for the whole summer of 2022. A lot has been made of his captaincy experience, would the Pears management swap the quiet leadership of Mitchell and Leach for the far more intense style of Wade?