The wicketkeeper/batsman – who signed a three year contract extension earlier this year – will lead the team in the Specsavers County Championship, with overseas player Michael Klinger retaining the captaincy for the shorter formats.

Gareth said: “It’s such a privilege. Not a lot of people have had, or will have the chance to lead this county and it’s a great honour

“It is an exciting time to be taking over the helm of four-day cricket here. It is a club moving in the right direction. That’s why I signed a three-year contract extension recently and why I took this challenge on as well.”

Gareth, 24,  who was born and grew up in South Africa and joined Gloucestershire in autumn 2012 following an outstanding season as Cheltenham CC’s overseas player in the Western Premier League.

He currently averages over 40 in First Class cricket and was a key part of the side that one the 2015 Royal London One-Day cup against Surrey at Lord’s.

Although new to captaincy Gareth says he has learnt a lot from previous skippers he has played under at the Bristol County Ground including Michael Klinger and Alex Gidman.

With the ECB’s restructure of the domestic game coming into place from the start of the 2017 season only one side will be promoted from Division Two of the County Championship this summer.

And although Gareth recognises it will be a challenge he says the squad is still targeting promotion in the four-day competition.

He said: “I think every side in Division Two starts with that as their aim and we certainly do as well. It is going to be even tougher now with only one side going up but we will be fighting hard to be in the mix.”

Gloucestershire Cricket head coach Richard Dawson said: “Over the winter Gareth has shown a great desire to improve his own game and a willingness to take on bigger leadership roles.

“He has been around the club for a few years now, he is an integral part of our four-day team and has the qualities to lead the side.

“He speaks his mind, is very clear in what he wants to achieve and has the full backing of the dressing room. There are a number of senior players in there who will able to support him and it’s a great opportunity for him.”

A British passport holder, Gareth will become eligible to play for England in 2019 through residency.