Head Coach Alan Richardson has delivered positive news about Worcestershire Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira’s shoulder injury and expects him to be fit to lead the side at the start of the 2024 campaign.
Richardson was full of praise for the way D’Oliveira came back sooner than initially expected for the final three County Championship matches of last season and to skipper Worcestershire to promotion to Division One.
He overcame the challenges thrown up by the shoulder to finish as Worcestershire’s second highest run scorer in the Championship, including a brilliant century against Yorkshire at Headingley in the final game of the season.
D’Oliveira steered Worcestershire to within one run of the 300 target – and two bonus points – needed to guarantee promotion before his dismissal with a magnificent knock.
Richardson confirmed D’Oliveira underwent surgery last month to his shoulder, with the aim of returning to running in the New Year and being part of the pre-season programme.
He said: “I wouldn’t have backed many players in and around the country to come back and do it, but Brett was adamant he was going to give it a go at the end of last season.
“Andy Powell is an amazing physio, and we are very lucky to have him on board, and, with his history in rowing and canoeing, he has got a lot of expertise around the shoulder area.
“He knew the challenges that Brett was going to have to face but also put him in a great position to do it.
“Brett takes great pride in leading the club and leading the boys out on the field which is one of the many characteristics which makes him such a strong leader.
“He gave himself a chance to do it. We always gave him the option, there was never any pressure to do it but Brett, being the character he is, and the pride he has in playing for the club, was amazing.
“It was fully justified at the end. There was never any guarantee about how he would go on the pitch but his performances on the park as well were fantastic.”
Richardson confirmed: “Brett had his surgery in November and he will be back for the start of the season by the looks of it.
“It is slow going for him at the moment, that’s just the nature of the surgery and the injury, but hopefully in the New Year he will be back running again and slowly getting into some cricket stuff by the time pre-season.
“It is something that is really frustrating for him but I’m sure he would have played those three games every day of the week.
“One of the values the boys have is they always consider what the team needs from them so you should see a lot of players playing selfless cricket.
“Not only does Brett talk well with the boys, but his actions are fantastic and he will never go out and ask the boys to do something he is not prepared to do himself.
“That is a really good characteristic as a leader.”