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The England men’s squad head to Lord’s trailing 1-0 in the 2019 Ashes, with the PCA’s Test and Overall Most Valuable Player Rankings set to take shape during the crucial middle stages of the five-game series.
If the Three Lions are to turn their fortunes around at the home of cricket, they will be reliant on outstanding individual performances to overcome a strong Australia side.
Chris Woakes and Eoin Morgan have already claimed the summer 2019 ODI and IT20 MVP crowns, meaning the Overall and Test awards are still up for grabs over the course of the coming weeks.
The MVP formula was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to reward match-winning performances, and recognises the importance of the genuine all-rounder.
Bonus points are awarded, for example, for scoring a high proportion of your team’s runs, claiming top order wickets and taking catches in the field, amongst other important disciplines. The algorithm therefore gives a more accurate reflection of the top performers than traditional batting or bowling averages do.
The Test MVP is currently weighted in favour of those who appeared in both the Ireland Test and the Ashes opener, with key players Ben Stokes, James Anderson and Jos Buttler rested for the former fixture.
Stuart Broad – England’s leading wicket-taker in those two games with a combined 13 – currently leads the way in the format-specific ranking.
Despite not appearing in any international fixture since early February, Broad has returned to find something close to his best form throughout his last two appearances. The 33-year-old’s 4-19 helped to skittle Ireland for just 38 at Lord’s, before the big paceman removed both Australian openers on his way to a 17th career Test five-fer in the first innings in Birmingham.
He leads by three MVP points from new ball partner Woakes, who benefits from the added bonus of having averaged 74 with the bat in the Ashes series so far.
The top three is completed by opening batsman Rory Burns, who made his maiden century in his first ever Ashes innings, helping him to accumulate 34.86 MVP points.
Whilst the Test MVP leaders are mostly established in England whites, all eyes will be on new man Jofra Archer as he is expected to make his Test debut at Lord’s.
Fresh from an outstanding showing (20 wickets at 23.05) in England’s successful ICC Cricket World Cup campaign, Archer will be raring to go after missing out on the two Tests to have been played so far this summer with a side strain.
Although he made his name appearing in various domestic T20 leagues around the globe, the Barbados-born man averages a mightily impressive 23.44 with the ball in first-class cricket. Already eighth in the Overall MVP, the 24-year-old will be keen to make an impact on the format-specific ranking.
He will most likely be joined in the side by Jack Leach, who is set to return at the expense of all-rounder Moeen Ali.
Left-arm spinner Leach is currently eighth in the Test MVP and will be looking to replicate the form that saw him win the MVP award from the Sri Lanka Test tour in the winter, albeit in very different conditions. The majority of his 19.2 points in the Ireland Test came after the Somerset man made a remarkable 92 as nightwatchman on the second day.
Along with Ali, James Anderson will be the other man to miss out on the second Ashes Test. England’s greatest ever wicket-taker pulled up with a calf injury after bowling just four overs at Edgbaston, and hasn’t recovered in time to take on Australia at Lord’s.
The aforementioned Woakes unsurprisingly leads the Overall MVP following a stellar summer with the white ball.
He is joined in the top five by Test skipper Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes. With all five now involved in international red ball cricket, the race for one of the most highly coveted individual awards in English cricket looks set to be an intriguing one.
View the England Men’s Test MVP Rankings here.
View the England Men’s Overall MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.