Ed Barnard will captain Worcestershire Rapids in their opening Vitality Blast match against Glamorgan at Cardiff on Thursday.

The all-rounder will also lead the side in the Vitality Blast competition this summer in all games where 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 had 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, and he is relishing the opportunity.

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 that 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."

Moeen Ali and Pat Brown are unavailable due to England white-ball commitments, but Gidman is looking forward to seeing how players with less T20 experience deal with the challenges ahead.

He said: “From a coaches point of view, it’s exciting. We get to give some opportunities to players who perhaps might not have had those opportunities.

“Ten games is a lot of T20 cricket, so it’s going to be a lot of exposure for one, two, three, four players but they are coming into an environment that is used to winning, used to being successful, so it is a very healthy team to come into.

“I’m looking forward to watching those inexperienced-younger players being around the experienced players, and hopefully they enjoy it and contribute to some victories.”