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Cook underlines value to Essex

Alastair Cook’s first match since he stepped down as England’s Test captain netted him 48 Professional Cricketers’ Association Most Valuable Player Rankings points.

Cook guided Essex to victory over Somerset at Taunton in the Specsavers County Championship with a brilliant second innings century which followed a half century in his first innings of the season.

Cook’s contributed 40% of Essex’s first innings total of 129 and 43% of their second innings runs which gave him a match haul of 45 PCA MVP batting points. He earned two more points for taking two catches in Somerset’s first innings and another for finishing on the winning side.

The PCA MVP Rankings system identifies the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic season.

It takes into account conditions, quality of opposition, captaincy and strike-rates as well as runs scored and wickets taken.

Cook entered the PCA MVP Rankings table in joint eighth place, level on points with Lancashire slow left-armer Stephen Parry, Nottinghamshire seamer Luke Fletcher and Surrey’s Sri Lankan left-hander Kumar Sangakkara.

Before this season Parry had amassed only 29 PCA MVP points in the County Championship and had not appeared in the competition for three years.

But he has played in Lancashire’s first two matches of the campaign and taken nine wickets and has a miserly economy rate of just 1.86.

Fletcher missed out on a maiden century for Nottinghamshire in their win over Durham at Chester-le-Street when he slipped, dropped his bat and was unable to make his ground.

But his first innings 92 equalled his career-best and made up 30 per cent of Nottinghamshire’s first innings 305. He also took five wickets in the match and finished with a haul of 31 PCA MVP points.

Sangakkara’s second innings 136 helped Surrey secure a draw against Lancashire at the Oval, made up 42 per cent of their total and earned him 31 PCA MVP points.

Yorkshire pace bowler Ben Coad remains the pacesetter in the rankings table, topping his 45 points against Hampshire with 53 in the innings win over Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Coad took career-best match figures of ten for 102 and now heads the PCA MVP Rankings with 98 points, 15 clear of Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott.

Abbott contributed with bat and ball in the draw with defending champions Middlesex. He made 56 in Hampshire’s first innings and took his second five wicket haul of the season in Middlesex’s second innings.

Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens has been one of the most consistent performers since the PCA MVP Rankings were introduced in 2007 and he has also made a strong start to the new campaign.

Stevens made a half century in each innings and took his second five wicket haul of the season to set up victory over Sussex at Hove.

Stevens took 44 rankings points from the match to move into joint third place in the table with Gloucestershire seamer Liam Norwell on 80 points.

Norwell took ten wickets in the match to demolish Leicestershire at Bristol which gave him a match haul of 40 PCA MVP points. He has now taken five wickets in three consecutive innings this season.

Only Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh (2,545) has more career PCA MVP points in the County Championship than Stevens who is now on (2,518). Stevens is also second in the all-time PCA MVP Rankings with 4,692 points with leader Samit Patel on 4,767 from all competitions.

About the PCA MVP Rankings:

The PCA MVP Rankings system was introduced in 2007 and was designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic season.

The formula gives full credit to those players whose performances improve their team’s chances of winning. Points are accrued for all runs scored and wickets taken, these are then adjusted within the context of the match to take into account strike rates and economy rates.

Runs gain more points if they are scored quickly or in low-scoring contests. Top order wickets are judged more valuable than those that fall later.

To see the full MVP table, click here.