Baptism of fire for Essex’s Snater
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 May 2018
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Shane Snater played against his cousin the other day. First cousin to be precise. His first five balls were treated with the respect befitting family: three dots and two singles; the sixth landed in the upper deck of the Tom Pearce Stand.
To be fair, Jason Roy had already passed fifty when the Essex newcomer was brought into the attack with 12 overs gone; Surrey’s England white-ball opener finally departed for a typically violent 86 off 64 balls, 15 of them plundered from 10 balls sent down by his little cuz.
Afterwards the pair posed in front of the Pavilion at Chelmsford for the family album.
“It was a bit weird out there,” admitted Snater. “It was a decent contest at the beginning, but I guess he’s going to walk away with the upper hand. Hopefully in the next game, who knows?
“I wouldn’t say it’s a family rivalry. It was the first time I’d played against him. He’s always been someone I’ve looked up to, like boys do growing up. He’s always the one who’s done well in the family.”
Snater’s introduction to county cricket has been a bit of a whirlwind and, at times, the proverbial baptism of fire.
It began, out of the blue, a week ago when he made his debut at Hampshire. He was thrown the new ball and then noticed Hashim Amla at the other end. “Growing up, I watched Amla bat for years,” he added. “Then I was running in to bowl to him!”
It was not a start to remember. Rilee Rossouw made sure of that. Snater went for 38 from 4.2 overs. His first game at The Cloudfm County Ground, against Somerset last Friday, was going the same way.
His first three balls went: wide, four, wide. There were two more wides in the second over.
“I felt nervous,” he said. “But for me it was good nerves, not bad nerves. Those first few overs just got the better of me.”
Captain and mentor Ryan ten Doeschate, a fellow member of the Netherlands national team, moved across from mid-on to have a word.
“He just said, ‘Mate, relax’. He’s always backing me, which is good. Then it all came together and, yes, I got the results in the end.”
Before you could say ‘Lonwabo Tsotsobe’, Snater had the key wickets of James Hildreth and Peter Trego in his next two overs on the way to match-winning figures of 5-60.
“I just knew it had to come together at some point,” he said. “You need a bit of luck, like a wicket helped a lot, and it was good to have the backing of everyone.”
The former graduate of the Darren Lehmann Academy in Australia has played his first three games for Essex without a contract. He is still ostensibly on trial with the 2nd XI, though he is due in for talks this week to tie up his immediate future.
The 22-year-old Zimbabwe-born seamer – he has a Dutch passport through his grandparents – came to Essex’s attention last summer when he played as part of the Netherlands Development side against Essex in a friendly at Garons Park.
Afterwards, ten Doeschate pulled him to one side and said: “Mate, we’d love to get you over.”
He returned this year after playing alongside Tendo in the World Cup qualifiers in March.
“It’s all happened quite quickly,” he added. “I didn’t assume I was going to jump into the first team so soon, but a lot of the bowlers are injured. It’s just been a lucky break for me. It’s always been a dream to play high-level cricket, and at the moment I’m riding the wave and just enjoying it while it lasts.”
Snater’s fourth appearance could come today when Essex host Glamorgan in a game they dare not lose if they are to retain any hopes of progressing in the Royal London Cup.