Brett D'Oliveira: Worcestershire's England Lions all-rounder signs new contract
Worcestershire all-rounder Brett D'Oliveira has signed a new three-year deal, tying him to New Road until 2019.
The new England Lions cap, 24, becomes the 14th member of Steve Rhodes' Worcestershire squad to sign a new contract inside the last 12 months.
"You want to keep your best players and he's certainly one of our best players now," said director of cricket Rhodes.
"Brett has had a fantastic season. He's got into the Lions squad and we wanted to reward him with a longer deal."
Since being converted into opening batsman midway through last summer, off-spinner D'Oliveira has become Worcestershire's leading scorer in the County Championship this summer with 690 runs at an average of 49.29.
He also topped the charts in T20 Blast for the county, hitting 353 runs from his 13 games.
D'Oliveira is the third generation of his family to play for the county, following in the footsteps of his late father, Damian D'Oliveira, who went on to become the county's assistant coach, and his grandfather, former England all-rounder Basil D'Oliveira.
"The last 12 months have gone well," said D'Oliveira. "This is a week you dream off, with the Lions debut and now the new contract.
"I was expecting to do better than in previous years, but you don't expect to have such a breakthrough year like this."
Worcestershire's latest off Shropshire production line
One of Worcestershire's richest seams of talent in recent seasons has been Shropshire and, more specifically, Shrewsbury School, where the cricket coaching staff is headed by former Worcestershire fast bowler Paul Pridgeon, ex-Shropshire opening bowler Andy Barnard and former Warwickshire and Glamorgan left-arm seamer Adam Shantry.
The current Worcestershire squad boasts Barnard's son Ed, Shantry's younger brother Jack, current Shropshire skipper Steve Leach's elder brother Joe, as well as England Lions batsman Joe Clarke, who all came through the Shropshire junior system.
Latest off the production line is another Shrewsbury School pupil, 19-year-old Ollie Westbury, who made 196 on his England Under-19s debut against Sri Lanka at Fenners this week, one of five Worcestershire players in the squad.
Westbury's eight-hour knock surpassed the 155 made by Kadeer Ali, elder brother of Moeen, as the highest score made by a Worcestershire player at England Under-19 level. He was also the first Worcestershire player to score an England Under-19s hundred since Ed Barnard's 114 at Cape Town in 2013.
"Ollie has worked really hard the past couple of years," said Barnard. "I've played with him for a few years now, both at school and at Shrewsbury Cricket Club and he has always scored runs. He just loves batting.
"Lots of kids want to play T20 cricket but Ollie is a proper old fashioned player who leaves the ball well and just wants to bat as long as he can. He just wants to spend time at the crease."