Patel in pole position to claim £10k while Harmer leads Championship table.

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Two overseas off-spinners are on course to claim two of the most coveted prizes at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards on Wednesday 2 October, with the final 2019 MVP Rankings set to be decided in the coming weeks.

Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel has claimed 464 MVP points across all formats this summer – the most of any player on the county circuit – despite his side’s indifferent form in each of the three main competitions.

However, with just 16 points separating Patel from Simon Harmer in second place, the race for the Overall MVP looks set to be much closer this year than last, when Joe Denly cruised home by 79 points and subsequently received a call-up for England’s tour of Sri Lanka,

Harmer, the current leader of the format-specific Championship MVP by a gap of 53 points, will fancy his chances of catching Patel with three rounds of long-format fixtures still to come. He also has the advantage of at least one extra 20-over fixture over his rival, after Essex Eagles’ remarkable late surge in the Vitality Blast helped them to qualify for this year’s finals day.

Patel does already have 54 Championship wickets at 25.57 in 2019, though, and will be bowling to help keep Warwickshire in Division One – the Bears are currently 41 points clear of relegation.

At the other end of the table, Harmer will be aiming to inspire Essex to a second Division One title in three seasons. The battle for the crown between his side and Somerset looks set to be an enthralling one, with the two sides meeting in the final game of the season at Taunton on 23 September.

It all makes for an intriguing shootout between the two favourites for the 2019 Overall MVP with three weeks of the season still to play.

The most likely candidate to challenge the pair for the award is Gloucestershire’s star all-rounder Ryan Higgins.

Higgins, 24, is responsible for the most notable movement in the Overall MVP since the Blast began in mid-July. In the intervening weeks, he has moved up from tenth to third place in the table, his excellent form helping Gloucestershire to a quarter-final berth before they bowed out against Derbyshire.

As a result, he is now just 10 points behind Harmer in second and will be firmly focused on maintaining a high level of performance as Gloucestershire aim for a promotion push.

The conclusion of the domestic season on 26 September will see the Overall and format-specific Championship MVPs identified simultaneously.

As with the Overall MVP, the Championship award looks likely to go to one of Harmer or Patel, although their current rankings in each table are reversed at this moment in time. That could all change, though, with the return of Lewis Gregory to the Somerset side. 

Having missed a month of his team’s Blast campaign with a foot injury, Gregory’s comeback game didn’t quite go to plan as Somerset exited the competition following a memorable final group stage fixture against Middlesex at Taunton.

If Gregory can get back to full fitness, his form could prove crucial to his side’s Championship title hopes, as well as his own hopes of claiming the Championship MVP. Gregory currently has the highest average MVP points-per-fixture inside the top 30 so will be hopeful of a late charge.

Before then, we will find out who will be crowned Blast MVP at Edgbaston on Saturday 21 September.

Only two of the current Blast MVP top ten will be present on the day, and either of Derbyshire duo Wayne Madsen and Billy Godleman will have to put in a couple of miraculous performances to dethrone current leader D’Arcy Short, who is just under 50 MVP points clear of Madsen in sixth.

Durham’s Short, who has a total of 185 Blast MVP points to his name, will be hopeful of completing a unique double from an individual perspective. Earlier this year, he was named Player of the Series for the 2018-19 Australian Big Bash League following a string of excellent performances for Hobart Hurricanes.

Although it is out of his hands for now, the 29-year-old all-rounder is the firm favourite to be named the MVP for England and Wales’ equivalent 20-over competition.

View the PCA’s MVP Rankings here.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.


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