Joe Leach has hailed the contribution of John Hastings to Worcestershire's excellent first half of the campaign.

And the Worcestershire skipper is backing the Australian all-rounder to make a substantial contribution with the ball during the second half of the season.

Hastings was brought in by Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes because of the way he could help the squad at New Road to flourish in addition to his ability as a player.

Leach said: "I can't speak highly enough of him and I really hope he gets the wickets he deserves because his impact on the side has been beyond what you see on the field.

"The group have gained so much confidence and so much belief just from him being around.

"For him, he deserves the reward of the wickets on the field, and the runs and the catches and all that kind of stuff.

"You can't really put into words the impact he has had on the group."

Hastings has had a stop-start season to date after being selected for the ICC Champions Trophy and playing only one 50 over match in a month.

But Leach has confidence in the 31-year-old to really fire as he has an uninterrupted two and a half months of cricket at New Road ahead of him through to the end of September.

He said: "John bowled really, really well at Durham and you can see he is going to contribute to the back half of the season. He was seriously impressive with the pink ball.

"Now he can settle down, really get into a rhythm and know he has got two and a half months with us.

"It is good for us to know that and we are all really excited to see how he goes during the second half of the year."