Daryl Mitchell has spoken out about "the devastating news" of his sacking as Worcestershire captain after more than six years in charge.
Mitchell, 32, has led Worcestershire to two promotions in the Championship as they have constantly alternated between Division One and Two, but promotion eluded them this season and he had paid the price. Allrounder Joe Leach has been named as his successor.
Mitchell was privately informed of his removal by Worcestershire's director of cricket, Steve Rhodes, on Monday and rejected the opportunity to resign - preferring to speak openly about the shock that he believes was felt not only by himself but also many of his team-mates.
"Being sacked from my role as captain on Monday morning came as devastating news to me" he wrote in a message posted on Twitter. "This is certainly the most difficult thing I've had to deal with in my professional career.
"As you can probably imagine it came as quite a shock, I am bitterly disappointed and left deeply hurt by the decision. I informed the players and staff last night and their messages of support have been overwhelming. Knowing that my team-mates share the shock is of great comfort to me."
Mitchell, normally the mainstay of Worcestershire's batting, averaged only 34 in the Championship and failed to reach 1000 first-class runs and admitted that off-field issues had undermined him in the first half of the season.
"2016 has been a difficult year for me with a lot on my plate off the field, poor form with the bat in the early part of the season and if I'm honest I haven't been at my best as captain in certain parts of the year," he said.
"However, I did feel things had turned the corner, I finished the season well, and after a freshen up over the winter I was looking forward to leading the team in competing for trophies in 2017. Unfortunately this was not to be.
"I was given the opportunity to resign but I felt it important that everybody knew the truth and the one thing I most certainly am not is a quitter.
"Although I disagree with the decision, I do fully respect it and know it been made with the very best intentions for Worcestershire CCC moving forward. I've been in professional sport long enough to know, sometimes you just have to take things on the chin and move on.
"I would like to thanks Steve Rhodes for giving me the opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream of becoming captain of Worcestershire CCC. I guess like all dreams you have to wake up at some point."
Leach, the county's vice captain, had a season to remember. He finished as leading wicket-taker in Division Two of the Championship with 65 victims and scoring neary 600 runs.