Hall Makes Storming Start In County MVP
The PCA MVP is back for 2009 doing exactly what it says on the tin: revealing county cricket's Most Valuable Players. The last two years have seen Ottis Gibson and Martin van Jaarsveld win the coveted MVP title before going on to receive the ultimate accolade of being voted the PCA Player of the Year by their county peers.
The PCA MVP formula, which has been carefully developed by the professionals, delves deeper than traditional averages. Key performance criteria like strike rates, economy rates, percentage of total runs scored and whether wickets taken are top order players or tailenders, are all thrown into the mix to discover real match-winners.
Many of this season's early frontrunners have previous MVP form. Andrew Hall, who featured prominently in last year's Twenty20 MVP, sits top of the pile after week two of the season. He scored 124 in his first championship match against Leicestershire, which was 32% of Northants' total, before taking 2 for 5 from 7 overs in Leicestershire's second innings. He also earned valuable points making 81 from 93 balls in the Friends Provident Trophy (FPT) match against Lancashire, which once again represented almost a third of his team's total.
Jimmy Anderson, who narrowly missed out to Andrew Strauss in the England Test MVP, occupies second spot overall after his match-winning performance against Sussex at Hove. Anderson took 11 wickets in the match (6-56 and 5-53) to leave him one point behind Hall. His England commitments will take him out of the county MVP race but his points per match average will be something to keep an eye on.
Worcestershire gloveman Steven Davies was last year's pro40 MVP winner and he's back in the overall MVP top three at the start of this summer's campaign. He's begun the FPT with scores of 50 and 47 while his 126 at Trent Bridge against Nottinghamshire in the championship was more than 35% of his team's total.
Gerard Brophy is a newcomer to the MVP limelight. The Yorkshire keeper, who lies fourth, has enjoyed a terrific start to the season with a brace of 60s, seven catches and a stumping in the FPT. In the championship match against Durham he notched 75 and 27 and bagged a further six catches.
Hampshire's exciting young all-rounder Liam Dawson is a player tipped for big things. He's already captained England U19s this winter and he appears ready to hold down a regular place in the Hampshire middle order. Figures of 4-48 and a useful 35 in the FPT was enough to see off Leicestershire, while in the championship win over Worcestershire he led the way in a low-scoring first innings with a crucial 66.
Ian Bell looks like a man, who badly wants his place back in the England team. 172 at Taunton in the championship was followed by 108 in the FPT against Somerset at Edgbaston, an innings which represented 40% of Warwickshire's total. Bell's England MVP campaign last year demonstrated a tendency of not converting enough starts. It looks like he plans to do something about that. He lies sixth with a run aggregate of 322.
Another keeper starting impressively is Craig Kieswetter. He made 138 off just 131 balls in the FPT against Warwickshire at Edgbaston the day after notching 150 in the championship match at Taunton against the same opposition.
Kieswetter's county colleague James Hildreth lies eighth after the biggest score of the season so far. Hildreth cracked 303 not out on a plum Taunton pitch, racking up a healthy 48 MVP points. His 67 in the win over Kent in the FPT has taken his run tally across all cricket to 390.
MVP Goes Amateur!
Fans of the PCA's groundbreaking Most Valuable Player system will be delighted to hear that MVP is being rolled out to all amateur cricketers! That's right, clubs and schools around the world will now be able to sign up for the professional MVP treatment, thanks to a brand new web portal in a joint initiative between the ECB and PCA.
No more arguing about who is the best player on your team - the MVP formula, designed by the pros for the pros, delivers a cumulative points system that rewards every run scored, wicket taken and catch held. All your scorecard information will be processed to determine who is grinding out the match winning performances...and who is full of hot air. Please visit at http://www.mycricketmvp.com/ for all the details.