Jack David Shantry
January 29, 1988, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Left hand bat
Left arm medium
The figure of fun who became a folk hero. Eyebrows were raised when Worcestershire signed Jack Shantry. A decent but unexceptional player in the local leagues, Shantry seemed to bowl with an impossibly awkward action and with a lack of pace that one journalist described as "somewhere between slow and stationary."
But Shantry had the last laugh. With hard work, self-belief, no little skill and the support of a benevolent environment, he developed into a fine county seamer with a record that defies the doubters. And with obvious enthusiasm for his task - on good days and bad - he gradually became a favourite of the Worcestershire supporters.
His lack of pace rendered Shantry a largely unfashionable cricketer, but his record was better than some left-armers destined for higher honours.
The younger brother of Adam Shantry, also a left-arm swing bowler whose increasingly impressive career with Northants, Warwickshire and Glamorgan was ended by injury, Jack developed through the Shropshire age-group teams. He claimed 10-wickets in a minor counties game in 2008 - his side, Shropshire, still lost - and broke into the Worcestershire side towards the end of 2009.
Blessed with a high action from his tall frame, excellent control and a natural nip away from the right hander, Shantry claimed a maiden five-wicket haul against Leicestershire in 2010. But it took time to cement his place in the side and after a modest 2011 (he claimed 14 first-class wicket at 45.28 apiece) and 2012 (15 at 28.20), it seemed his future was in the limited-overs game.
But he enjoyed a far better 2013 - he claimed 45 wickets at 26.28 including a haul of 7-69 against Essex the most eye-catching of several fine contributions - and an outstanding 2014 (56 wickets at 23.95). Meanwhile his economy-rate in List A cricket continued to drop and his batting continued to improve.
Shantry played a key role in unfancied Worcestershire's well-deserved promotion in 2014. As well as 5-53 against Surrey in June, he enjoyed a remarkable match against the same opposition in a September game that clinched promotion. Having taken 6-87, he came into to bat in his side's second innings with Worcestershire seven down and leading by just 34 and thrashed a maiden century from only 86 balls. Then with Surrey 106-1 and chasing 217, he claimed another four wickets to not only secure victory but register his maiden 10-wicket match. Bothamesque, was one apt description.
Back in Division One, he claimed an impressive 57 Championship wickets at a cost of only 25.08 in 2015 - only seven men in the division took more - but it wasn't enough to help his side avoid relegation.
Another startling Championship hundred came in 2016. Shantry turned the clock back to a match played more than 100 years earlier when scoring a career-best 106 in a remarkable Worcestershire recovery against Gloucestershire at New Road. He rushed to a second 50 from 14 balls in completing a hundred from No 10 - just as Dick Burrows had done in a similar transformation against the same opponents in 1907.
Injury forced him into retirement in 2017, but he continued his involvement in the game through umpiring.
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