ED BARNARD will captain Worcestershire Rapids in their opening Vitality Blast match against Glamorgan at Cardiff today (Thursday).
The all-rounder will also lead the side in the Vitality Blast competition this summer in all games in which Moeen Ali is unavailable because of England commitments.
The 24-year-old, who made his senior debut for Worcestershire five years ago, is keen to enhance his leadership skills.
He has previously captained Shropshire under-14 and under-15 junior sides and Shrewsbury School in his final year and this represents his first taste of captaincy at senior level – an opportunity he is relishing.
Head coach Alex Gidman confirmed: “Ed Barnard is going to captain the team for the whole campaign for the times that Moeen is not with us.
“With Ed, it is a chance to give him some exposure as a leader and he also has experienced guys around him who can help him.
“He is part of the future of this club and has expressed a desire to work on his leadership skills. This is an opportunity to get some experience as a captain and then see what happens.
“First and foremost I want Ed to go and enjoy his cricket, but am also looking forward to watching him lead it as well.
“It’s an experienced and very successful team. It’s a nice little formula we’ve got and it’s about trying to improve things the group do well.”
Barnard said: “It’s a really nice honour to be asked to captain by Alex and especially to do it with this T20 side. We’ve had great success over the last two years and it’s such an exciting team.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m really excited about it. Did it come as a surprise? It did a little bit, but it’s something I’ve always said I’d like to do at some point.
“I’ve always enjoyed the leadership and tactical side of the game. There are plenty of people I’ll be able to bounce ideas off and give me a bit of help at certain times.
“People like Daryl (Mitchell) have played a lot of cricket, Riki (Wessels), Brett (D’Oliveira), Ben (Cox) and Hamish (Rutherford), plenty of people to help me out.
“I’ve played under Daryl, Moeen (Ali) and Joe (Leach) as captains and they’ve all got different attributes as outstanding leaders and I’ve picked up little bits from them, but also will try and put my own stamp on it.
“I also participated in a PCA leadership course and I learned a couple of things from that which I’m hoping to take into this series of games.”