PCA PRESS RELEASE
September award split after public vote remarkably ends in tie.
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Essex’s Simon Harmer and Kent’s Darren Stevens have become the first ever players to share the PCA’s Player of the Month award, after a public vote to decide the winner extraordinarily resulted in a tie.
The duo were the clear frontrunners, both finishing with 43% – or 1,013 individual votes – to their names. Kyle Abbott, who produced historic match figures of 17-86 earlier this month, finished third with 10%, and Worcestershire’s T20 hero Moeen Ali came fourth with 4%.
Fans who voted via the PCA and Sky Sports websites then had the final say, but there was nothing to choose between two of domestic cricket’s outstanding performers, a fitting end to a dramatic summer.
Harmer wins his second Player of the Month award of the 2019 season having picked up his first in May, whilst Stevens joins Liam Dawson (April), Hassan Azad (June), Ravi Ashwin (July) and Tom Banton (August) in receiving the accolade this year.
Off-spinner Harmer has enjoyed an outstanding summer, and saved much of his best form for the last weeks of the season. His combined Blast Finals Day figures of 7-35 were the best ever recorded on the day, and he went on to smash 18 off just seven balls to win the final.
In the Championship, Harmer claimed three five-wicket hauls and hit an unbeaten 50 during Essex’s successful Division One title race run-in.
“It’s been a great month,” said Harmer
“I can’t pick out a particular highlight. Obviously Blast Finals Day was an extremely exciting occasion and everything fell into place for us at Edgbaston – it was great to win.
“Down at Somerset I think we got ourselves into a little bit of trouble trying to play out a draw on that pitch. In the end, it was the relief of finally lifting the trophy at the culmination of such a great season that made it a real highlight.”
On top of team honours, Harmer has received the notable personal accolade of being named the PCA’s Overall Most Valuable Player for 2019, after accumulating a massive 609 MVP points throughout the season.
“I think the MVP is a true reflection of your performances throughout the year, so it was extremely satisfying to be named the Overall MVP. Getting a £10,000 bonus never hurts, either.”
Already a Specsavers County Championship and Vitality Blast champion, 2019 Overall MVP and double Player of the Month award winner, Harmer has the opportunity to put the cherry on the cake by picking up the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year award at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards on Wednesday.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to go to the Awards because I’ve always gone back to South Africa to play. I’ve heard good things so it should be a really great night.
“I’m just incredibly honoured to be voted as one of the four best players in the country by my fellow professionals.”
"It was extremely satisfying to be named the Overall MVP."
Stevens has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster year, and was expecting to leave Kent at the end of the season before an incredible late surge in form saw the county perform a u-turn and offer the 43-year-old a contract for 2020.
“The last five weeks has probably been the best period I’ve had in my entire career,” Stevens said.
“I’m really pleased to have earned a new contract. Throughout the year I’ve known that I still have a lot more to give, both on and off the pitch. I just want to win games of cricket for Kent, especially now that we’re in Division One.”
“To get my personal best in the penultimate game was really, really pleasing. I still don’t think it has sunk in - it was a bizarre day."
The clear highlight of Stevens’ remarkable month was his unbelievable career best 237 against Yorkshire at Headingley. Stevens rescued his side from 39-5 in a game which they eventually went on to win by a huge margin of 433 runs.
“To get my personal best in the penultimate game was really, really pleasing. I still don’t think it has sunk in – it was a bizarre day.
“With it being a 10.30 start in September, I was shocked to find myself walking out to bat before 11am. We decided to counter attack and luckily it worked in our favour. We had originally been thinking we’d do well to get to 150 or 200 with the start that we had had.”
Stevens went on to take 5-20 to win the match for his side in the last innings, and can therefore be forgiven for wanting to put his feet up and rest for a few weeks.
“There’s going to be a lot of golf and a lot of family time. I’m also going to try and do more coaching this winter since I’ve done my level 3 ECB qualification and that’s the route that I eventually want to go down.
“We’ll see what happens next year. It’s going to be a long winter and, to be honest, I’m just happy to still be playing games of cricket for Kent.”
To view the Overall MVP Rankings click here.