Worcestershire: Joe Leach & Chris Russell agree new deals

Chris Russell (left) and Joe Leach (far right)
Russell (left) and Leach (far right) will stay at New Road until 2016

Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach and fast bowler Chris Russell have signed new two-year contracts with the Division Two leaders until 2016.

Leach, 23, who made his maiden century in 2013, has taken 24 championship wickets this summer.

"He has possibly been our most-improved seamer and he'll definitely get another hundred because he is good enough," said director of cricket Steve Rhodes.

Russell, 25, took 16 wickets as the club made the T20 Blast quarter-finals.

The pace bowler made his first-class debut against Warwickshire in August 2012, after taking six wickets in a tour match against South Africa at New Road.

Russell played the first match of the current season against Hampshire but was a regular in the T20 side and finished as the club's leading wicket-taker.

"Chris worked a lot on his white-ball skills in the winter and made some crucial contributions in T20 cricket," said Worcestershire bowling coach Matt Mason.

"But now he will want to kick on in other formats of the game."

Leach made his first Championship hundred against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham last July but found himself left out at the start of this summer.

He played his first match this season against Essex in May, following that up with career-best figures of 5-36 in the next game against Kent at Tunbridge Wells.