Shane Snater: Create our own history


Shane Snater was the Essex Players’ Player of the Year; it could be argued that it was richly deserved considering the number of times he performed during the season.

The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder also took the performance of the season award for the unbeaten 65 he compiled in nerve-racking circumstances at Headingley when he provided the glue to steer Essex from the depths of 64 for six, chasing 162, to a remarkable one-wicket victory.

Among other personal highlights – during an LV= Insurance Championship season in which he scored 463 runs at 23.15 and was third highest wicket-taker with 36 – were a match-saving, career-highest 79 not out against Northamptonshire, and six-wicket hauls against Somerset and Lancashire.

“To have the trust of the players and for me to be awarded that was a great honour,” said the 27-year-old Snater. “To be honest I don’t know how or why people voted for me. All I can say is thank you and try and do the same this season and continue contributing for the team.

“It was something of a breakthrough year for a player who received his County Cap last September after only shining intermittently during his previous four seasons at the club.

“I think I showed some glimmers of that form the season before, but, yes, last season was pretty much like a breakthrough. It was good that I could finally contribute consistently with both bat and ball. I’m happy with how last season went and I guess my aim now is to maintain that and move on with renewed confidence.

“As you get older you start to mature and you look at your game a bit differently, what you want to do on and off the field. I think it was just that maturity began to show. It is quite difficult when you first come to a new country and you’re still trying to find your feet inside cricket, outside cricket. I guess everything needs to come together for you to perform on the field. And it did last season.”

That 51-ball innings against Yorkshire certainly brought Snater sharply into focus. Essex were making heavy weather of the run-chase when he strode out to join Adam Rossington.

“It was quite a difficult wicket to bat on. We wanted to try and score as quickly as possible because it was just a matter of time before a ball had your name on it. We just tried to see the good balls out and put the bad balls away. I think that is how we slowly crept forward. Then Benny Allison and I put together a nice partnership and everything just seemed to fall into place.”

However, the dismissal of Allison left Snater with just No11 Jamie Porter for company and a couple of runs still needed. Snater went for bust and hit the decisive boundary. He remembers: “I kind of figured there had been two balls in the previous over, one of which Ports missed that barely missed the stumps. I decided I’d rather get out trying to go for it than just try and defend it and maybe get out to a half-shot.”

Those sorts of performances will pile expectation on the Netherlands international this season. “I don’t really look at it that way.” Snater replies. “I am quite a laidback person, so I tend not to think like that. I’m happy where I’m at. If there is more pressure on, I’m not really feeling it. I’m happy if we are winning. Hopefully it’s a good season.”

And what would constitute a good season? “Obviously we would like to walk away with a trophy. It was amazing to see the successes of 2019 and 2020 from the outside, so to be part of something like that would be incredible. I would certainly love to be a part of a Championship-winning team. Hopefully we can create our own history.”