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Full name Richard Kenneth Oliver
Born November 14, 1989, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Current age 25 years 41 days
Major teams Shropshire, Worcestershire, Worcestershire 2nd XI
Batting style Left-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium
|First-class debut||Worcestershire v Glamorgan at Worcester, Jun 29-Jul 2, 2014 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Essex v Worcestershire at Chelmsford, Sep 23-25, 2014 scorecard|
|List A debut||Worcestershire v Essex at Worcester, Jul 27, 2014 scorecard|
|Last List A||Worcestershire v Lancashire at Worcester, Aug 9, 2014 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Durham v Worcestershire at Chester-le-Street, May 16, 2014 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||Surrey v Worcestershire at The Oval, Aug 2, 2014 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|0, 6||Worcs||v Essex||Chelmsford||23 Sep 2014||FC|
|23, 24||Worcs||v Surrey||Worcester||9 Sep 2014||FC|
|1, 0||Worcs||v Derbyshire||Derby||31 Aug 2014||FC|
|52, 179||Worcs||v Gloucs||Worcester||15 Aug 2014||FC|
|12||Worcs 2nd XI||v Middx 2nd XI||Radlett||11 Aug 2014||Other|
|13||Worcs||v Lancashire||Worcester||9 Aug 2014||LA|
|5||Worcs||v Yorkshire||Leeds||7 Aug 2014||LA|
|55||Worcs 2nd XI||v Warwcks 2nd||Kenilworth||4 Aug 2014||Other OD|
|34||Worcs||v Surrey||The Oval||2 Aug 2014||T20|
|2||Worcs||v Derbyshire||Worcester||31 Jul 2014||LA|
A less passionate, less stubborn fellow might have given up on a career as a player. But not Richard Oliver. After spending eight years as a professional in club cricket - the summers in England, the winters in Australia - "bashing the door down" (as he put it) in the hope of attracting a county, he finally won a break.
Kevin Sharp, standing in as Worcestershire second XI coach for the unwell Damian D'Oliveira, phoned Oliver and invited him to play for the county's second XI. Sharp knew Oliver form his time coaching Shropshire and was a player short for a game.
Oliver responded by scoring two centuries for Worcestershire's second team against Derbyshire, one in limited-overs cricket and another in the longer form of the game, and then another against Lincolnshire in a limited-overs game for Shropshire.
From there, he was quickly promoted about contracted players such as Tom Fell and Joe Leach for Worcestershire's first T20 game of the season. Suddenly, from opening the batting with Omar Ali for Shropshire, Oliver was opening the batting with Omar's brother, Moeen, for Worcestershire.
It proved an inspired selection. He responded by top-scoring for his side with 43 from 31 balls against Durham and followed it with an innings of 34 from 23 balls against a Lancashire side including James Anderson. Indeed, Anderson was seen giving Oliver some of his infamous "advice" after taking some punishment. He followed that with 77 from 43 balls over Northants, the reigning T20 Champions, and was soon afterwards offered the professional contract he had always wanted.
An unusually aggressive left-hander, Oliver made a maiden first-class century as an opening batsman against Gloucestershire a few weeks later and ended the season as a first choice selection in all formats. George Dobell
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