THE BOY who used to play in kits bags and cricket coffins at New Road has become the first Worcester-born captain of Worcestershire CCC.
Brett D’Oliveira has realised his ‘boyhood dream’ after becoming the first member of his distinguished cricketing family to be officially appointed as skipper of the Pears.
D’Oliveira’s grandfather Basil and father Damian represented Worcestershire between them for more than 30 years before becoming first-team coach and academy director respectively.
Brett will become skipper after Joe Leach stood down from the role in September after five seasons in charge.
D’Oliveira has ten years of first-team experience to call upon and has also captained the side previously in County Championship and T20 cricket.
When not practicing on the New Road outfield, a young Brett could often be found in the kit bags and cricket coffins of father Damian’s team-mates.
“You do things in life and have opportunities like this, and you hope those (family) who are no longer here will be very proud, but I’m also proud and know I’ve made my family proud that are around me as well,” he said.
“Looking back to those days when as a youngster I used to run around the outfield seems surreal. But it’s been a boyhood dream, if I’m honest, spending all my lifetime at Worcestershire and now being given the opportunity to captain.
D’Oliveira replaced the injured Leach as captain during the second half of the 2018 season for five Championship matches.
He was also in charge of the T20 side in Moeen Ali’s absence, because of England commitments, during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns when the Rapids won the Vitality Blast and finished runners-up the following year.
“I want to be myself and, if I can lead from the front in everything I’m doing, I will hopefully drag the boys along with me,” he said.
“We’ve got a good core group and, moving forward, we want to try and keep together, that experienced sort of group, and bringing through the younger lads like Josh Baker and Jack Haynes and all these guys that have got and shown great potential.”
Pears head coach Alex Gidman praised his new skipper for his ‘great leadership qualities’ and hailed D’Oliveira as an excellent tactician.
“I’m sure he will get the best out of the individuals and the collective team. Really looking forward to watching those qualities come out,” he said.
“The decision was about the best leader on and off the pitch, and Brett knows the club better than anyone.
“He is Worcestershire through and through and, to have that relationship that he has with the club makes it very special. We are looking forward to watching him lead the whole club, not just the cricket team, as the club captain.
“I know he is extremely proud and very excited about trying to take the team and the club forward.”
Gidman added: “We have tried to give a few players some captaincy experience over the last few years, and they have all done it extremely well and tried their absolute hardest.
“Brett is in a really good place with his personal cricket, and we are excited to watch the captaincy work alongside that.
“Brett playing with a smile on his face is infectious, and I’ve said to him we don’t want him to feel he has to be a different person.
“We want Brett to be captain for the person he is and the way he will lead and the way he will captain the team. Nothing has to change.”