Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes confirmed that Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach is to assume vice-captain responsibilities at New Road.

Leach is to take on the role as number two to skipper Daryl Mitchell while official vice-captain Moeen Ali remains a centrally contracted player with England.

Stafford-born Leach had previous experience of captaining the Second Eleven and led the side against Sussex while Mitchell was absent today when his wife was giving birth to their second child, Ava Jane Mitchell.

Rhodes said: "Joe will will be giving the support to Daryl as his vice-captain for this period.

"Moeen officially is our official vice-captain but with the central contracts, and he is well aware of this – I spoke with him first to make sure he was comfortable – it is Joe who is going to be the vice-captain.

"If Moeen comes back to us while he is still under central contract, then Joe still will be vice-captain.

"If Moeen for some reason comes off a central contract, then we will reassess the situation and make sure both players are aware of that."

When asked to highlight Leach's qualities, Rhodes said: "First of all Joe is very well respected in the dressing room. He is a battler. He has shown that with his own cricket to get to where he has and doing so well.

"He is well liked and popular but he is quite forthright with his views and he is the ideal bloke as a bowler to link the bowling group with Mitch who most importantly was happy to have him as the right hand man."