WORCESTERSHIRE Rapids’ 2024 signing Usama Mir is making his mark with the ball for Melbourne Stars in Australia's Big Bash League.

The Pakistan international all-rounder thrilled Rapids' fans with his performances in the Vitality Blast last summer, topping the batting and bowling averages.

He returns to New Road for this summer’s tournament and has again showed his quality for Stars in the meantime.

Usama, 28, heads into 2024 as Stars' most economical bowler, playing an important role in their top-four push with his leg-spin.

He has conceded only 6.64 runs per over with overall figures of 17-0-113-5 from his five competition appearances.

Usama was Stars' key bowler with 3-19 in the win over Sydney Sixers and his spell of 4-0-24-1 was also significant in their success over Hobart Hurricanes.

Rapids' fans will hope Usama can reproduce last summer’s stunning form when he returns.

He had their highest strike-rate with the bat, scoring 132 at 162.96 with some crucial late-order runs.

Usama was also Rapids' second highest wicket-taker with 19 at an average of 16.89.

Meanwhile, long-serving Worcestershire all-rounder Joe Leach launches his 2024 testimonial year at New Road with a gala captain’s dinner in the Graeme Hick Pavilion on Friday, February 9 (7-7.30pm).

A three-course meal, reminiscing with six County captains past and present spanning more than 50 years and music from a live band will kick off the 12 months in style.

Norman Gifford, Phil Neale, Tim Curtis, Daryl Mitchell, Leach and current club captain Brett D’Oliveira will relive some of the glorious moments in the County's history.

Gifford played in three Championship-winning sides at New Road, Neale skippered Worcestershire to six trophies in five years and Curtis led them to the 1994 NatWest Trophy at Lord’s.

Mitchell, Leach and D'Oliveira all captained teams to County Championship promotion.

They will be interviewed in pairs by radio cricket commentator Frank Watson who is also the chair of Leach’s testimonial committee.

Tickets are £60 each or £550 for a table of 10 and can be obtained via the club's website.

There will also be an auction with several items of sporting memorabilia and other packages available to bid for during the evening.

Leach has been a loyal and impressive performer for Worcestershire during the past decade, particularly with the ball in picking up 450 first-class wickets so far.

There will be many more events to follow during the next 12 months.