Somerset's Tom Banton smashes superb Vitality Blast ton - is an England call-up imminent?
Banton's pyrotechnics help Somerset snap 11-game losing streak against Kent in T20 cricket and avoid unwanted world record
Last Updated: 11/08/19 5:48pm
Tom Banton's superb century powered Somerset to victory over Kent in the Vitality Blast on Saturday night - and had sound cricketing minds speculating over an imminent England call-up in white-ball cricket.
The 20-year-old cracked five sixes and nine fours en route to 51-ball hundred as he became the second youngest batsman, after a then-19-year-old Jason Roy in 2010, to score a Vitality Blast century.
Kent's bowlers were flogged to all parts, while a host of experts, including Sky Sports' Mark Butcher and Nasser Hussain and Somerset legend Marcus Trescothick, were notably impressed by the potential next big thing…
Somerset vs Glamorgan
August 24, 2019, 6:55pm
Belligerent Banton bludgeons bowlers
Somerset win by 55 runs
Somerset 206-8 (Banton 100 off 52, Abell 63 off 33)
Kent 151 all out (C Overton 3-32, Waller 2-27)
Banton's onslaught propelled Somerset to a winning total of 206-8 at Taunton as his side ended a run 11 T20 defeats in a row against Kent and avoided the world record of 12. SOUTH GROUP TABLE
The right-hander, who holed out out one delivery after completing his quick-fire century with a meaty leg-side six, played a host of powerful strokes but also some innovative reverse sweeps.
Banton put on 102 with skipper Tom Abell for the third wicket in a pulsating nine-over spell - but was dropped in the fifties by Adam Milne in what proved a costly moment for Kent.
Banton - "It's the best feeling I have ever had"
"Doing it here [at Taunton] was great. You just have to take it all in [out in the middle]. I kept plinking them all over the place in the nineties and then got hold of the short one!
"Tres [Marcus Tescothick] will probably text me in the morning and we'll have a chat about it. I have worked closely with him this year and he has been good for me. I need to keep my feet on the ground and carry on."
The pundit's view - Mark Butcher
"He has all the shots. He kept belting it into the wind as if to prove the elements weren't strong enough for him! It was a brilliant innings and he really is a fine young player.
"It seems only yesterday I was interviewing him after a hundred he made for the England Under-19s in New Zealand. He said he had things to improve and wasn't happy with his game then - but I think he's pretty happy now!
"England's white-ball teams are not easy to break into, let's be fair, but there is a T20 World Cup on the horizon and some of the players incumbent in the England side are getting older.
"The best thing for him to do is stay in the moment and keep playing the innings that he is playing. When an opportunity comes, he will be ready."
The captain's view - Tom Abell
"You don't talk too much to Bants to be honest, you just let him be because he can take the game away from opposition teams. It was very special in front of the Sky cameras so he will be pretty happy!
"Everywhere you look on social media it's going crazy for him and rightly so. He is a phenomenal talent and performing really consistently for us at the top of the order."
The mentor's view - Marcus Trescothick
"I have seen him play some brilliant knocks this summer but to get a hundred on TV and really show people how good a player he is is there for everyone to see.
"Tempo is something we have been talking about, just to get the timing of when to put the foot on the gas and when to play the reverse sweeps. The tempo was much better and that's what will please him the most.
"He will go further 100 per cent - all the leagues around the world will be watching this and going 'we could pick up this lad for a steal'. He needs to carry on with the volume of runs and the way he has played.
"He has the ability to hit good balls, which is what you get when you go up to the next level. He will definitely be talked about by England. If you are going to be resting players, he will be very close to that team sheet."
How Twitter reacted
If it were up to me I would be getting Tom Banton into the England t20 side as early as possible and get him ready for the World t20. I am convinced he’s good enough. No fear. None at all.— Elizabeth Ammon (@legsidelizzy) August 10, 2019
Tom Banton for Lords? Doesn’t seem to give a stuff about anything or any bowler....— Mike Smith (@smudgely1967) August 10, 2019
Kent - who had run out Banton's opening partner Babar Azam (9) early on - took a glut of wickets towards the death as Somerset slipped from 169-2 in the 17th over, with no other batsman passing seven.
The away side then had some hope at 50-0 in the sixth over and faint hope at 101-2 in the 13th but with the run rate beginning to steeple, Craig Overton bagged three wickets in an over, including Kent captain Sam Billings, who was playing his first first-team game since April after dislocating his shoulder during a Royal London One-Day Cup clash.
At 101-5, Kent were kaput. Their T20 dominance over Somerset coming to a crashing halt on the night Banton became a star.
Somerset are on TV again on Saturday, August 24 when they play Glamorgan in the Vitality Blast from 6.55pm on Sky Sports The Ashes.