Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

On Song Oliver Praises Rhodes For Giving Him Licence “to Be Myself”

On Song Oliver Praises Rhodes For Giving Him Licence “to Be Myself”

Richard Oliver has praised Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes for allowing him "to be myself" with his approach to batting since arriving at New Road.

And the opening batsman admits he is now "less in a rush to show people what I can do" after being able to make his mark with the county following his step up from club and Minor Counties cricket early last summer.

Oliver has entertained crowds with his aggressive approach, initially in the NatWest T20 Blast and then in the LV = County Championship where he averaged nearly 40 over the final seven games of last season.

He said: "From day one, the first day I walked into Worcestershire, I was just told to play my way by Bumpy and back myself to play to my strengths.

"If that's me perceiving I've got to be aggressive or playing each ball on its merits, or whatever it is, I was able to go out and play the way I wanted to play.

"You are only going to be yourself when you are told to be yourself and you are only going to show people what you can do, if you are going to be yourself.

"If you could encourage anyone to play cricket, you would encourage them to be themselves if you are going to get the best out of them.

"I think that was a big part of Bumpy getting the best out of it, and Kevin (Sharp) and Mase (Matt Mason) getting the best out of me for a few games last season.

"You are not going to do it every game but Worcestershire, I believe, have seen some of my best cricket from me so far and you always think you can be better and hopefully there is plenty more to come."

Oliver added: "Have I changed anything about my game? I think for me I'm in less of a rush to show people what I can do now.

"I've laid down a few markers and I've shown people I can play so I'm not in as much of a rush to make a 100 or whatever.

"I'm just there to make runs and contribute to winning games of cricket and for me, if I'm making runs and we are winning, then the numbers look after themselves."

Oliver has started pre-season in fine form with a century against a UAE X1, 63 against Derbyshire and an unbeaten 89 against Warwickshire yesterday.

He said: "From the way I felt in Abu Dhabi (pre-season), the way I felt playing cricket in Geelong this winter, and the way I've felt training now, I'm in a good headspace with the experience I've had.

"I'm respecting the deliveries a lot better, I'm leaving a lot more and I'm more composed.

"I'm hitting the ball along the ground a lot more and it feels like it has made me a better player in the lead-up to the season.

"Let's hope I can be in a good headspace when we start for real. It's a bit frustrating because I feel like I'm ready to go tomorrow but that's not the way it goes."