Northants v Yorkshire Vikings – Jack Shutt hoping to make big impression in Vitality T20 Blast
The 22-year-old off-spinner was drafted in for Thursday’s T20 game against Lancashire at Emerald Headingley in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 17,000, with thousands more watching on Sky television and listening to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The experience might have fazed many young players, for there is no bigger game in the domestic calendar, but Shutt returned Yorkshire’s best figures of 2-31 from four overs as Lancashire scored 170-6 from their 20 overs, Yorkshire responding with 161-9 to lose by nine runs.
Shutt’s first three overs were especially impressive, the Barnsley-born player having figures at that stage of 2-14 before Glenn Maxwell and Dane Vilas, two of the game’s most destructive strokeplayers, took 17 off his final over.
Although the result was naturally Shutt’s overriding concern – “we were a little bit crushed that we didn’t quite get over the line” – he admitted that his call-up was a dream come true and, he hopes, the first of many.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Northamptonshire, where Yorkshire play their fifth of 14 group fixtures in what will be Nicholas Pooran’s last appearance before the West Indies batsman/wicketkeeper heads home for international duty, Shutt said: “To make my debut in a Roses game, in front of however many thousands of people, was an unbelievable experience for me.
“If you’d told me that I’d be picked and bowl four overs straight through at Glenn Maxwell, for example, I wouldn’t have believed you; he’s an unbelievable player who I’ve watched on TV a hell of a lot while growing up.
“That was surreal, really surreal, and hopefully I’ll get a few more chances in the comp and take it game by game.
“I’m happy with how my first match went, especially the first three overs, and hopefully I can take that form forward.”
One instantly looks with young players to see whether they possess the right temperament, as well as the talent, and Shutt ticked the box in both respects.
Although his first wicket came from a full toss, Steven Croft lofting his third delivery from the Emerald Stand end into the safe hands of Adam Lyth at long-on, the batsman found himself somewhat reaching for the ball.
Shutt’s second wicket came courtesy of a catch at long-off by Harry Brook to dismiss the dangerous Liam Livingstone, and although it would be premature to get too carried away by Shutt’s performance, it would only be fair to describe it as highly encouraging.
The fact that he seems like a nice chap with a good head on his shoulders also suggests a positive and thinking cricketer.
That was evidenced, too, by the fact that Shutt was quick to pay tribute to Josh Poysden, the spinner whose place he effectively took.
Poysden, the equally affable 27-year-old wrist-spinner, fractured his skull in the Headingley nets on Monday when off-spinner Dom Bess hit the ball back at him in a freak accident.
Although Poysden has been told that he will make a full recovery, the process is expected to take at least three months, ruling him out for the rest of the season.
It was clearly not the way that Shutt – who has been in and around the Yorkshire squad for some time – would have wanted to get his opportunity.
“I’m quite close with Josh and I’m gutted for him,” he said.
“He’s helped me out a lot and he was messaging me before the Lancashire game and wishing me good luck.
“I was thinking about Josh, and I feel really bad for him.
“Hopefully, he makes a speedy recovery.”
Shutt also paid tribute to Bess, who is on loan from Somerset for the first 10 T20 matches.
Bess, who turned 22 on the fateful day when Poysden was hit, already has the invaluable experience of playing two Tests.
“Dom’s been there and played for England, and it’s great to have a person like that who you can chat to,” said Shutt.
“He’s been giving me a few tips and that sort of thing.
“He’s another good lad and I get on well with him. You can only learn from players like that.”
With only one win from their first four games, which have included two defeats and a no-result, Yorkshire could do with getting back on track at Wantage Road.
They have not qualified for the knockout stages of the T20 in five of the last six seasons and have yet to win the trophy, a record they are determined to put right.
“There’s a hell of a long way to go in the competition,” said Shutt.
“If you can get on a run and get a bit of momentum behind you, then anything can happen, and we’re a long way away from seeing how it’s going to pan out just yet.”
Yorkshire squad v Northants (from): Ballance, Bess, Bresnan, Brook, Kohler-Cadmore (captain), Leaning, Lyth, Olivier, Pillans, Pooran, Shutt, Tattersall, Thompson, Willey.