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 renders Shantry a largely unfashionable cricketer, but his record is better than some left-armers seemingly 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.

STATS

Role
bowler
bats
left-hand
bowls
left-arm, medium-fast
shirt number
11
place of birth
Shrewsbury
date of birth
29/01/1988
height
6ft 3in
weight
12st 9lbs
nickname
Shants
bat used weight
Cicada 2.9lb long blade
colour number
458
wccc debut
2009