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Shortest format comes into focus at both international and domestic level.
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The PCA’s Vitality Blast and England T20I Most Valuable Player Rankings will be reset this week ahead of the return of the shortest format at both domestic and international level in England and Wales.
With the English season having so far consisted of Bob Willis Trophy, Test and ODI fixtures, the 20-over format is set to become the main focus of this truncated summer.
A packed Vitality Blast schedule gets underway on 27 August, whilst England face Pakistan in the first of a three-match series just one day later at Emirates Old Trafford.
As ever, the PCA will be keeping track of the top performers amongst its entire membership through the purpose-built MVP algorithm, which was designed in conjunction with the players to identify the match-winners in any given fixture.
At the end of the summer, a Vitality Blast and an England T20I MVP will be named, whilst points accrued in T20s will also contribute to the cross-format Overall MVP Rankings.
Blast promises further fireworks
We’ve seen some incredible individual performances light up the one-off Bob Willis Trophy already this year, and the return of the Vitality Blast will no doubt provide more memorable moments as we move towards the second half of the 2020 season.
Picking a favourite for the Vitality Blast MVP is tricky, although recent history suggests that the format favours all-rounders when it comes to scoring big MVP points.
The absence of D’Arcy Short means we will not have a repeat winner, however, whilst Joe Denly’s presence in the England T20I squad to face Pakistan means the Kent talisman is unlikely to reclaim his 2018 crown.
🥇 Congratulations D’Arcy Short 🥇
📈 He’s the man who’s led the #Blast19 MVP for majority of the summer!
👏 Mo pushed him close on Finals Day but the Australian was too good!
🙌 Congrats @ShortDarcy!
— PCA MVP Rankings (@pcaMVP) September 21, 2019
Somerset’s Overton twins will be looking to build on their excellent start to the season – Craig and Jamie are currently first and third respectively in the Overall MVP – whilst second placed Simon Harmer will be looking to continue the form he found when producing his 2019 Finals Day heroics for Essex Eagles.
England Test skipper Joe Root could prove to be an unlikely points scorer in the early stages of the Blast MVP. The Yorkshireman is set to appear in his first T20 for the Vikings in over four years on Thursday, and could feature in even more fixtures down the line according to coach Andrew Gale.
With the England squad for September’s limited overs fixtures against Australia yet to be announced, however, along with a relative dearth of overseas players present as a result of Covid-19, the opportunity presents itself for an unlikely hero to be named Vitality Blast MVP following the conclusion of Finals Day at Edgbaston on 3 October.
England continue T20 World Cup prep
As the Vitality Blast dominates the domestic schedule throughout September, the Three Lions will continue their preparation for the now delayed T20 World Cup, which was originally due to be held in Australia between October – November 2020.
England’s focus will now switch to the same period next year, as the remainder of their schedule this summer involves them facing Pakistan in three T20Is before three more fixtures against next year’s tournament hosts as well as the same number of ODIs.
Skipper Eoin Morgan will look to defend his T20I MVP crown earned over the winter as he leads out his side in consecutive fixtures at Emirates Old Trafford. The big-hitting batsman was England’s outstanding performer with 81 T20I MVP points in the winter – 16 clear of nearest challenger Dawid Malan.
The Yorkshire batsman is expected to be a regular feature in the XI for the Pakistan series with a number of high profile names absent, though the series against Australia is expected to be a contest between two full-strength sides with numerous England stars returning.
David Willey is currently the highest ranked limited overs player in the Overall MVP. The all-rounder could mount an unlikely challenge for the cross-format crown, Stuart Broad being the current leader with 146.5 MVP points from his five Test appearances.
England’s T20I MVP for summer 2020 will be named following the conclusion of the third T20I against Australia at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday 8 September.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.