Ben Stokes Returns to the Top of the County FTI MVP Rankings -23/05/11
Ben Stokes, who lit up the opening week of the county season, returns to the top of the FTI MVP rankings after making a career best 150 in limited overs cricket. His innings in the Clydesdale Bank 40 against Warwickshire at the Riverside was made from just 113 balls and included nine fours and seven sixes. He has now scored 696 runs and taken 18 wickets across both forms of the game, 305 and nine of which have come in the CB40, in which he is ranked second. In the LV= County Championship he is ranked 22nd, his best performance coming in the opening match against Hampshire where he scored 135 (including five sixes in one over) and took 6-68. He has also scored a century against Somerset.
Stokes is one of four top quality left-handed batters in the top ten of the FTI MVP rankings. Marcus Trescothick is in second place overall, the 2009 FTI MVP winner finding his very best form in recent weeks after a slow start to the campaign. Trescothick is up to second in the LV=CC FTI MVP, too, after a fine performance against Sussex at Hove in which he scored 63 out of Somerset's first innings of 213 (33.81%) and 79 out of 235 (33.62%) in the second. In Championship cricket, the Somerset captain has scored over a quarter of his team's runs. He scored a double century against Hampshire and 144 against Durham, while in the CB40 after scores of 0, 0 and 6, he notched 50 and then 111 of 79 balls against Lancashire. Trescothick has scored 868 runs overall, 701 of which have come in the LV=CC, 167 in the CB40, while another aspect of his points-scoring is his wins as captain (currently seven) and the amount of catches he takes (currently 20).
The third southpaw on the list is Ian Blackwell, who's up to sixth overall and sixth in the LV=CC FTI MVP courtesy of 134 and a couple of wickets against Worcestershire. Blackwell topped the FTI LV=CC MVP in 2009, finishing second behind Trescothick overall, and he now has 549 runs and 15 wickets in this campaign.
Ed Joyce, like Trescothick, is an opening batsman who sends down not a ball in anger. His runs are gathered more effortlessly than most and they have come abundantly this summer. Two Championship hundreds and three scores in the 80s have seen him rack up 651 runs in the longer format, while the CB40 has realised 192 runs with a best of 90 against Derbyshire. Joyce spent a lot of the 2010 season out injured but now looks to be back to his best form. In 2009, he finished 14th overall and topped the Friends Provident (50-over competition) FTI MVP. He is currently tenth overall and tenth in the LV=CC FTI MVP.
Interestingly, Lancashire, who top the LV County Championship having won four of their five matches, have no top ranked players in this year's overall FTI MVP. Their highest ranked player is Gary Keedy in 31st. The veteran left-arm spinner is up to eighth in the LV=CC FTI MVP having taken 10 wickets in the victory in the Roses match, which takes his tally to 31 LV=CC scalps. Lancashire's early season Championship success has been based on the wickets of Keedy and Glen Chapple, both of whom have been rested from the CB40, and a tremendous team effort with different players making match-winning contributions at different times.
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