Alan Richardson believes Worcestershire CCC all-rounder Brett D’Oliveira is approaching his peak, and being a multi-purpose cricketer has helped him develop into the key player he now is at New Road.
D’Oliveira made his debut a decade ago and has played in many roles in white and red-ball cricket with bat and ball.
But now, the 29-year-old is settled into an opening slot alongside Jack Haynes in the white-ball game and a middle-order player in the four-day game, whilst performing effectively with his leg-spin in all formats.
His fine all-round performance in the Royal London Cup followed key contributions in the LV=Insurance County Championship and Vitality Blast.
Assistant Coach Richardson, who has been overseeing the Royal London Cup campaign in tandem with Kadeer Ali, said: “Brett has been around a long time, but he is still relatively young, and he is probably reaching his peak, getting towards that now.
“Hopefully, there are some even better years ahead of him. He has fulfilled many roles. While that might have been frustrating for him at times, having to do all those different things for us, it has ultimately helped make him an even better cricketer.
“He has to understand many roles and stretch himself, and that shows the beauty of him as a player, that he can fulfil many roles.
“I think in white-ball cricket, he can bat anywhere for us between one and six now and do the same in red-ball cricket.
“Having done all those roles has helped him become a more rounded cricketer.
“He looks confident, he has worked incredibly hard, he is very thoughtful about his cricket as well, and this season has been a really good one for him so far.”
D’Oliveira has become an integral part of the attack, and in red-ball cricket, has effectively supported the four seamers usually selected.
Richardson said: “He is wanting to keep getting with his bowling, but I think he has shown remarkable consistency with his bowling.
“He has been able to fill a role in there. He has kept it nice and economical at one end and taken some crucial wickets for us.
“He has been part of that five-man attack in red ball and white ball and generally has done it very well.
“Again, he works incredibly hard at it, thinks about the direction he wants to move in, and keeps giving himself the best chance to perform.”
The Rapids just missed out on a spot in the knockout stages of the Royal London Cup after winning their opening three matches.
Richardson said: “We have to say it is disappointing because I think it is an opportunity missed, really.
“I don’t think we can ever be over happily with not qualifying, but I think it was always going to be a challenge.
“Everyone had lost players to The Hundred, so it was always going to be quite different. We didn’t quite know what to expect.
“But, having got into the tournament and started it so well, we have to look at it as an opportunity missed to go a bit further and test ourselves in one-off games in knockout cricket.
“I think, at times, we played some outstanding cricket, certainly at the start of the tournament.
“Then we had two close games, against Middlesex and Sussex, and didn’t get over the line, and those were the games we will probably look at.
“You are always going to have games in a block where you don’t compete. That’s sport. But we competed in both of those very well and we should certainly have got over the line in one of those games.
“If that had happened, I think we would have qualified.
“There have been some real positives as well. Jack Haynes and Brett played really well at the top of the order and set us up in a few games.
“They broke a long-standing first wicket partnership for Worcestershire as did Ed Barnard and Joe Leach for the seventh wicket.
“We celebrated those. Worcestershire have been playing white-ball cricket for a long time, and to break those records is an outstanding effort.
“There was some really good stuff in there, and we have made some good strides but, ultimately, probably just not enough yet.”