THE EFFORTS of Steve Rhodes and Damian D’Oliveira in laying the foundations for Worcestershire’s current success ‘should never be forgotten’, according to head coach Kevin Sharp.
Former director of cricket Rhodes and late academy director D’Oliveira were key figures in the county opting to go down the route of producing homegrown players.
Those roots are starting to flourish with the bulk of the Vitality Blast finals day triumph for the Rapids consisting of graduates from the academy.
Blast skipper Moeen Ali was keen to stress the impact of Rhodes in post-match interviews after leading the Rapids to glory at Edgbaston and Sharp feels the same way.
Sharp said: “It’s a great credit to the club and the foundations were laid many years ago here by Bumpy (Steve Rhodes) and Damian D’Oliveira with regards to the policy of bringing on its younger players.
“They must take credit for that. The lads who are doing it now, Ben Cox and the like, are lads who came through the academy many years ago under Bumpy and Damian’s guidance.
“We musn’t forget that, we must never forget that. It is true and fact.
“These lads who have come through the club system here – the fruits are beginning to bear. They are coming to the party, they are developing, taking ownership and they are flying.
“Bumpy gave me the opportunity to come here and, as it’s turned out, I’ve ended up in the position of head coach which was unexpected.
“This year, as a group, with the other coaches Alex Gidman, Alan Richardson, Ryan D’Oliveira, Elliot Wilson and Andy Sutton, we’ve blended together and we must have done something right to help these lads continue to flourish in the way they have.”