Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Mitchell: Damian “massive Influence” On Me And The County

Mitchell: Damian “massive Influence” On Me And The County

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell has hailed the impact and lasting legacy of Academy coach Damian D'Oliveira who passed away last Sunday.

Mitchell admits D'Oliveira has been "a massive influence" on his own career since he joined the Academy as a 14-year-old a decade and a half ago.

The opening batsman said: "Dolly was a massive influence on my career and those of many other people here at the club.

"We counted 17 names who came through his guidance in the Worcestershire academy and went on to play first-class cricket, which did not include some more youngsters still in our system.

"I first knew Dolly as a player back in the late 1980s and early 90s when I was a young lad watching in the stands.

"I then worked with him when I joined the academy as a 14-year-old and he was a massive influence on me right up until this winter.

"I often felt Dolly knew more about my batting than I did. One of Dolly’s special qualities was he had a great eye for a player – he wasn’t one to make you face hundreds of balls in practice.

"If something was wrong, he stood behind you in the nets and would only need two or three balls to figure it out and offer a solution.

"He was a great coach with incredible knowledge, but he also told excellent stories and was a great man too.

"I probably learnt as much from him in hotel bars after games as I did in the nets."

Mitchell and the rest of the Worcestershire players heard of D'Oliveira's death when Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes broke the news to them an hour before the start of the home LV = County Championship clash with Glamorgan.

He said: "I have never experienced anything like that morning before and I don’t want to again. Put it this way, I have never seen so many catches dropped in a warm-up.

"For the two Toms (Fell and Kohler-Cadmore) to go out and play like they did to get us out of a hole and allow us to post over 350 was testament to Dolly and a fitting tribute to the man.

"I can’t imagine how tough it must be for Brett D’Oliveira and the rest of the family, but he has been in among his team-mates and said it felt good to be around everyone.

"I’m sure he will continue the proud D’Oliveira legacy at this club for a long time."