LONDON: Worcestershire captain Joe Leach will miss the remainder of this season because of a stress fracture in his back, the English county announced Thursday.
It is a major setback for the Midlands club, who are not only losing their skipper but also their leading wicket-taker in both this season's County Championship and the One-Day Cup.
Worcestershire are into the semi-finals of the Cup and the loss of Leach comes just a week after fellow paceman Josh Tongue was sidelined until August with a foot problem.
Kevin Sharp, the Worcestershire coach, has yet to decide on a captain for Sunday's Cup semi-final at home to either Kent or Nottinghamshire at New Road.
"It is a big blow and Joe is gutted and quite upset at the minute," said Sharp. "He has played such a major part for the club over the last few years.
"It is life, " he added. "Bowling is a very physical job. Joe has had very few injuries but very rarely do bowlers go through their career without some sort of injury.
"We now have to regroup a bit. We have lost our captain for the rest of the season and we will have a think about things and sort that out over the next week.
"It means there will be an opening for others that might not have had an opportunity. We want the lads to stand up and be counted -- and I'm sure they will."
Leach has taken 23 wickets in the First Division of the County Championship this season, at a low average of 22.08.
Nevertheless, Worcestershire are currently bottom of the table after losing four and drawing one of their opening five matches.