Worcestershire CCC duo Brett D’Oliveira and Ed Barnard have given the club a major boost by signing new contract extensions.
And Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes praised the “tremendous loyalty” shown by the home grown duo in committing their futures to the County and in wanting to be part of a team striving to bring success to New Road.
All-rounders D’Oliveira and Barnard had two and one years left respectively of their current deals.
But the Academy products have committed to longer term contracts with Worcestershire and follow in the footsteps of Josh Tongue, Tom Fell, George Scrimshaw and Ollie Westbury who also recently signed new deals.
It is a massive tonic for the club as they prepare for the finale of the Specsavers County Championship campaign and the battle for promotion.
D’Oliveira and Barnard have played key parts in second placed Worcestershire challenging strongly for promotion back to the top flight.
Opening batsman D’Oliveira, who was chosen for the England Lions last summer, has scored nearly 600 runs with two centuries this season.
Barnard has totalled 371 Championship runs batting predominantly at number seven after being promoted up the order and also taken 28 wickets – just three short of last season’s tally.
In the T20 Blast D’Oliveira has been one of the competition’s most economical bowlers, picking up 11 wickets at 21.09 and conceding an average of only 6.82 runs per over.
Former England Under-19 player Barnard has also again featured in the entire T20 Blast campaign.
Rhodes said: “Brett has signed a contract extension. He has commited himself to the club and we are delighted.
“He is a wonderful cricketer who plays well in all formats and has those three disciplines of batting, bowling and fielding that he does well.
“Ed has also signed a longer contract. He is a fine all-rounder. Barny has progressed over the winter in Australia to become a better cricketer all-round – fielding, batting and bowling.
“We are delighted with his progress. He is in the top seven now, he deserves that and you have seen some of the little cameos towards the end of the innings.
“He has got a delicate side to his game but he has also got a bit of power now and we are happy for him to be involved in the longer term just as we are with Dolly.”
Rhodes added: “It is wonderful to see these guys who have come through our system, come through our Academy, commiting to the club.
“They are showing real faith in wanting to be part of the journey of success that we hope the team can create.
“One of our goals is not just to develop good cricketers but also to hang onto them and these two guys have shown tremendous loyalty in signing longer deals.”
A delighted D’Oliveira said: “I was over the moon and pleasantly surprised to have been offered the extension in the first place by the club and then to sign it as well, and get the deal I was happy with, is absolutely amazing really.
“If we stick together as a group moving forward, then we will be stronger in the future.
“In terms of my own game, I think I have shown improvements in my game over the last few years.
“There is still a lot more to come and I want to achieve a lot more.
“I feel I’ve been improving each season and I’ve just got to keep working hard and moving forward really.”
Barnard was equally pleased to commit his future at New Road.
He said: “I’ve been really happy with the way the season has gone and to manage to get this now from Bumpy and sign it now is really pleasing.
“It’s great that a lot of other people like Dolly, Tonguey and Felly are also committing to the club with new contracts.
“Worcestershire is a terrific place for young players to play and we have shown in the Championship this year that we are still an improving side.
“Everyone is growing up and maturing each year and although the T20 campaign has been disappointing this year, we are still going from strength to strength as a team.
“Hopefully in the next few years, if we keep our core players together, that is going to continue.”