Worcestershire: Shantry played like Ian Botham, says boss Rhodes

Worcestershire left-armer Jack Shantry
Shantry bowled unchanged for 15 overs at New Road to help pull off one of cricket's great turnarounds

Worcestershire matchwinner Jack Shantry has been compared to the great Ian Botham after the all-round performance which inspired his team to promotion.

In the manner of Botham's legendary efforts with both bat and ball in 1981, Shantry hit his maiden century before taking four wickets to see off Surrey and seal a return to Division One.

It reminded coach Steve Rhodes of his former Worcestershire team-mate.

"He doesn't give up," said Rhodes. "It was like Botham's Ashes at Headingley."

Ian Botham during his famous 149 not out at Headingley in 1981
The great Ian Botham took seven wickets in the match on top of his famous 149 not out, Headingley 1981

Worcestershire were looking at a third straight County Championship defeat, a mere 37 runs ahead with just three second innings wickets intact, until 26-year-old Shantry smashed a stunning Botham-like maiden first-class century in just 89 balls in the final session on Thursday, blasting 18 fours and two sixes.

That still left promotion rivals Surrey needing only 217 to win - and they looked well on their way at 106-1, with former Worcestershire skipper Vikram Solanki on 58.

Enchanting figures for Shantry
Left-armer seamer Jack Shantry's match haul of 10-131 and his 100 not out on Thursday were both career-bests as are his tally of 54 first-class wickets and 437 first-class runs for the season
The son of former Gloucestershire, Dorset and Shropshire left-armer Brian Shantry and brother of ex-Northants, Warwickshire and Glamorgan and Warwickshire seamer Adam Shantry, another left-armer, he had never performed the feat of a century and 10 wickets in the same match.
He is only the third Worcestershire player to achieve the feat, following in the footsteps of fellow pacemen Imran Khan, against Lancashire at New Road in 1976, and Ted Arnold, over 100 years ago.
England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who played cricket and football with Shantry in their native Shrewsbury as kids, remains one of his best mates. Hart, it is said, was good enough to have made it in first-class cricket, while Shantry still maintains that he is better 'in nets'.

But, after Charlie Morris got rid of Solanki, his successor as skipper Daryl Mitchell turned to Shantry for one more effort.

Having already taken 6-87 in the Surrey first innings, the Shropshire man responded with an unbroken 15-over spell which brought him 4-40 to complete another career-best, his first 10-wicket match haul.

"For Shants to bat and bowl the way he did was fantastic," said England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who weighed in with a decent match contribution himself on his return from international duty, with four wickets - including 3-63 in the second innings - and knocks of 51 and 54.

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"I'm very happy for him and all the lads. In general, we didn't play very well. We didn't bowl very well first innings, apart from Shants, and we didn't bat well. But Shants played brilliantly. That partnership of 108 with Joe Leach was crucial."

Rhodes told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "How Jack has turned the game around is quite incredible. He is a very determined character.

"We have shown a lot more fight than we would have done in the past.

"To go and play in Division One again is going to be a really tough task for us, but I'm hoping we show a little bit more steel.

"The one thing about the dressing room is it is very together. The guys get on ever so well. That is your 12th man. It is a big help when you play against sides who possibly haven't got that."

New Zealand fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan, who played on despite learning of the death of his father Dennis back home after the first day's play, was also full of praise for Shantry.

"It is one of the best individual performances I have seen in a game of cricket," McClenaghan told BBC Hereford & Worcester. "Words can't describe how good it was."

McClenaghan, who will now fly back down under to be with his family, admitted that this week had been an emotional experience for him.

"It's been tough," he said. "But I love these boys here at Worcester. I feel like I've built a good bond with them and the management.

"The support they have given me the last two days has helped me to get through it.

"I also thank all the Worcester supporters who have offered their support. I'm glad I could be part of a win that gets them promoted before I went away.

"My dad didn't want me to come home when he was unwell and that was the hardest thing.

"But I know there is no way he would stop me playing cricket. He was a champion bloke. I was getting through the game for him."

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