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Somerset star thankful for special moment after sleepless nights.
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Somerset’s Tom Banton is the deserved recipient of the August PCA Player of the Month award, following an outstanding month that saw him score his maiden T20 century.
Banton, 20, was the clear winner with 53% of the public vote, ahead of teammate Tom Abell (22%) in second, Yorkshire’s Adam Lyth (13%) in third and Derbyshire’s Wayne Madsen (12%) in fourth.
The four-man shortlist had previously been selected by the PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings, with the nominees scoring more MVP points than anyone else in August.
Fans who voted via the PCA and Sky Sports websites then had the final say, and Banton became the fifth different player to win the award this season, following Liam Dawson in April, Simon Harmer in May, Hassan Azad in June and Ravi Ashwin last time out in July.
“It’s obviously a very special moment. It’s always nice to see my name join a list of such talented players,” Banton said.
Banton was nominated for the award alongside teammate Abell, and Somerset duo Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton are also flying high in the Overall MVP.
“It’s brilliant having such great players around you. They’ve helped me a lot as I’ve come into the team which is nice for me being a youngster and being in my first year.”
For Banton, the month saw him score 428 runs at an average of 38.9 across both formats with his highlight undoubtedly making his maiden T20 hundred against Kent at Taunton.
“I’ve never felt excitement like it – it was a bit crazy to be honest. I struggled to sleep for the next few nights which I think was still due to the excitement.”
The 20-year-old’s batting exploits saw him accrue 116.31 MVP points for the month in that discipline alone – more than any other player. During the same period, Banton averaged a hugely impressive 12.5 MVP points-per-game, a strong showing given that all but one of those appearances were in the shortest format.
Although Somerset just missed out on a Blast quarter-final berth after a thrilling closing group stage fixture against Middlesex, the side’s young wicketkeeper-batsman has set his sights on further success this season.
“The aim is definitely to try and win the next few games and lift the Specsavers County Championship title at our home ground on 26 September. That would be the dream and that’s what everyone here at Taunton wants.
“If I scored a hundred in the Championship then I would be the youngest player to get one in each of the major competitions (overtaking Jason Roy), so personally I would like to do that. But the main thing is just to try and keep winning games.”
“It’s going to be very hard to break into that team but if you keep on performing then you just never know.”
Beyond that, the inevitable questions about an England call-up will continue to be asked if Banton keeps on producing as he has done this August. However, the youngster is keen to focus on the here and now.
“Obviously the England white ball team are so strong and have just come off the back of winning the ICC Cricket World Cup. It’s going to be very hard to break into that team but if you keep on performing then you just never know. Hopefully one day I’ll get that phone call.”
“This year I’ve done better in white ball cricket but I’m always trying to improve in the longer format as well. The main goal is definitely to play Test cricket for England but I’m just trying to stay realistic at the moment so white ball cricket will hopefully come first.”
To view the Overall MVP Rankings click here.