Skipper Daryl Mitchell says Worcestershire still have competition for places amongst their batsmen despite the loss of Alex Gidman and Tom Fell from their squad.

The experienced Gidman has been forced to retire through injury while Fell, the County's leading run-scorer in the County Championship last summer, is undergoing three bouts of chemotherapy for cancer.

But Mitchell points to a top six who have played first team cricket while George Rhodes, Alex Hepburn and Ed Barnard could also come into the equation.

Mitchell said: "We will be without Alex and Tom, two good players as well. Giddo's experience, he will be a sad loss not only on the field, because he is a proven run-scorer, particularly in Division Two, but his influence and experience in the dressing room will be a huge loss.

"We all know the situation with Tom Fell. It's a huge blow for everyone really, especially coming on the back of being our highest run-scorer last year.

"But the important thing with Felly is getting right, fit and well and hopefully we will see him the second half of the season.

"We've got to back our squad. We've got the six batters who have all played first team cricket and you got to look at your George Rhodes and Alex Hepburn who are part of the squad as well.

"Hopefully they can get runs in the second team early doors and put pressure on the other guys. Barny is another one you could potentially bat in your top six as well.

"There is still an element of competition there despite obviously losing two important players to us.

"Sometimes, that is professional sport. Things come at you and you've just got to learn to deal with it and that's why you have squads of players and not just carry 12 all the time.

"You don't want people to retire or get ill but when things happen like that, it sometimes does give other people opportunities in the first team.

"Hopefully the lads who play will step up and take the opportunities they get."