Joe Leach, a thickset and bustling seam bowling allrounder, has won considerable respect for his efforts on behalf of Worcestershire, so much so that he was appointed as captain in succession to Daryl Mitchell at the end of 2016. Leach established himself as a key member of the Worcestershire side with a series of consistent performances in 2015 and ended the season named as the club’s vice-captain. The following summer, his all-round impact with bat and ball persuaded Worcestershire that he had become the heartbeat of the club.

Leach bowled nearly 500 Championship overs and took 65 wickets to sustain Worcestershire’s challenge in a season in which their bowling performances dipped. He also carried a threat with the bat, making a career-best 107 not out at the end of the season against Derbyshire, who had been the second division’s whipping boys all season.

One of several men at the club to have developed, in part at least, through Shrewsbury School (where he was captain) and the Worcestershire Academy, Leach also represented Staffordshire and Shropshire in Minor Counties cricket before making his first-class debut Leeds/Bradford MCCU in 2012, while studying French and Philosophy at the University of Leeds. After taking 4 for 73 in the first innings, he scored a half-century in his second as side, chasing 315, fell three short of a memorable victory. His Championship debut followed in August of the same year.

Although he claimed a maiden first-class century against Gloucestershire in 2013 and a maiden five-wicket haul against Kent in 2014, it was not until 2015 that he cemented his place in the Worcestershire side, so much so that he was named as vice captain at the end of the season. Maintaining a nagging line and length at a fast-medium pace, he claimed 59 wickets in the first division of the County Championship – no Worcestershire bowled claimed more – and also took a hat-trick from the first three ball of a List A match against Northants, though it was not enough to prevent his side from slipping to defeat. He also registered three half-centuries and finished the season with 498 Championship runs at an average only fractionally under 30

STATS

Role
all-rounder
bats
right-hand
bowls
right-arm, medium-fast
shirt number
23
place of birth
Stafford, Staffordshire
date of birth
30/10/1990
height
6ft 1in
weight
15st 4lbs
nickname
Leachy, Lusty SSSB
bat used weight
Wooden (8kg)
colour number
476
wccc debut
2012