Brett D’Oliveira is the third generation of his family to play for Worcestershire and he is aware that he has quite an act to follow. His grandfather, Basil, became one of English cricket’s best-loved characters for the dignified way he dealt with his exclusion from the 1968 tour of South Africa on the insistence of the South African apartheid government. His father, Damien, followed up a 13-year professional career by becoming a central figure in developing a Worcestershire coaching set up that has ensured an above-average stream of good county professionals – Brett included.
Brett, an impish batsman and legspinner, made his Worcestershire debut the summer after the death of his grandfather and had to cope with the premature loss of his father two years later. He is showing signs, though, of being a proud extender of the D’Oliveira line. Most markedly of all, when he struck a career-best 202 against Glamorgan he added another accolade to the D’Oliveira clan – it was the first time in first-class cricket history that a grandfather, father and son had all registered first-class double-centuries
As a child, when Brett was not practicing on the New Road outfield, he was hiding in kit bags and coffins. The ground was very much a second home to him. Perhaps one of the biggest influences that Damian had was to persuade Brett to bowl legspin. He had been working closely with Terry Jenner, Shane Warne’s mentor, and convinced Brett, a diminutive figure, to abandon thoughts of being a fast bowler. Brett was selected in Worcestershire’s limited-overs side in 2012 as a leg-spinner. While not a big turner of the ball, he proved to have good control and has played a useful role in the white-ball game. He claimed his maiden first-class wicket in his fourth first-class match as well as scoring 44 at the end of the 2014 season.
Somewhat surprisingly promoted to open the batting at the end of 2015, he responded with several decent innings – he made between 36 and 49 in the final four innings of the season – and claimed a maiden first-class five-wicket haul against Durham. He also finished the season as the club’s most economical T20 bowler. During the close season, Brett became the fourth generation of D’Oliveiras to play for the St Augustine’s club in Cape Town.
The 2016 summer brought further progress. He struck three first-class hundreds: his first Championship hundred, 128 against Essex, came against the same county against which Basil notched his maiden first-class hundred.
- right-arm, leg-spin
- shirt number
- place of birth
- date of birth
- 5ft 9in
- bat used weight
- Mongoose MMI 2.7lbs & Mongoose Torq 2.7Ib
- colour number
- wccc debut