Worcestershire bowling coach Matt Mason has praised the growing impact made with the ball by Joe Leach during the past two seasons – and believes he has the qualities to be a potential future captain of the club.
Leach took his wicket tally in the LV = County Championship in 2015 to 35 in just five and a half matches with a four wicket haul against Middlesex in the current match at Uxbridge.
It surpassed his previous best haul of 33 wickets in 12 games last season – his first as a front-line bowler at New Road.
Before that Leach had primarily been a batsman who bowled a little and scored his maiden Championship century against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in 2013.
Mason said: "Thirty five wickets in five and a half games, and a strike rate of under 40, much like Kabir Ali used to do….his stats are unbelievable.
"He has got a better career average than Alan Richardson which says it all for me. You think where he was three years ago. But that's down to nothing more than absolute hard work and self belief from Joe.
"We've worked a little bit together, doing things here and there, but basically it's been down to his hard work and desire to succeed."
Mason added: "I see him as a potential captain. I think he is such a leader. I think he is a natural born leader. I don't think he realises how good he is at that.
"I can see him as captain material one day for this club if for whatever reason down the line Mitch didn't continue or whatever. I think we've got a readymade leader there in the wings. Fair play to Joe.
"He wears his heart on his sleeve as well. He will speak up when he needs to.
"Joe has got the absolute desire to be the best he can and the people around him have to do likewise otherwise he sort of frowns on them and rightly so because that's what we want from our young cricketers."