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The Essex spinner added 12 more wickets to his season tally.
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Essex’s Simon Harmer confirmed his place as one of the favourites for this year’s PCA Most Valuable Player award after turning out yet another remarkable performance in the County Championship this week.
The South African returned scarcely believable match figures of 12-61 to flatten Hampshire inside two days at Chelmsford, on what Harmer himself has admitted was a spin-friendly surface.
Unsurprisingly, the 30-year-old was named the PCA MVP for the match after his side’s innings and 8 run victory. It was his fourth such award of the season in first-class games – a particularly amazing stat considering that Essex have only played in six completed fixtures.
Harmer now sits fourth in the PCA Overall MVP Ranking, and top of the format-specific County Championship Ranking, ahead of Somerset’s Lewis Gregory and Warwickshire’s Jeetan Patel in second and third.
Gregory fell behind this week as a result of his side not playing, but will be looking to make up the lost ground as Somerset take on Harmer’s Essex in the next round of fixtures.
Chelmsford wasn’t the only ground that proved to be a bowler’s paradise over the last few days.
Up at Derby, England and Lancashire legend James Anderson bowled his side to their fourth County Championship victory this year.
With the start of the Ashes just six weeks away, fans of the Three Lions will have been pleased to see Anderson at his scintillating best once again. The 36-year-old continued his fine form to return match figures of 9-47, helping to sink Derbyshire by a 10-wicket margin.
Anderson’s bowling stats this season have to be seen to be believed. In five Championship games he has taken 28 wickets at 8.64 a piece, with an economy rate of just 1.71 runs per over.
As a result, he sits 14th in the Championship MVP despite having earned just 2.38 batting points for the entire season.
Anderson’s new ball partner Graham Onions joined the former in enjoying a memorable week. The 36-year-old took eight scalps in the same game, passing 700 first-class wickets in the process – a monumental effort from the veteran seamer.
Onions now has 25 first-class wickets for the season and, on current form, you wouldn’t bet against him passing the 800 mark at some point in the near future.
It wasn’t just the bowlers having all the fun this week, though. Leicestershire’s clash with Gloucestershire saw 1,269 runs scored for the loss of just 20 wickets across four days.
Six batsmen brought up hundreds, with Gloucestershire’s Ryan Higgins, who sits 20th in the Championship MVP, providing the game’s highest score with a brilliant yet agonising 199.
Congratulations must also go to Leicestershire opener Hassan Azad, who struck a century in both innings to take home his maiden MVP award.
Kent’s Matt Milnes also enjoyed a notable first during his side’s win over Nottinghamshire. The promising seamer took 5-68, his maiden five-fer, in the Outlaws’ first innings, passing 50 first-class wickets in the process. Milnes’ scintillating form currently sees him in the top 10 of both the Overall and Championship MVP Rankings.
In the same game, 2018 MVP Joe Denly enjoyed a stunning return to form, blitzing 167 not out off just 206 balls to put the game well and truly out of Nottinghamshire’s reach.
The next round of Championship fixtures sees the battle of the MVP top two as Harmer and Gregory face off at Chelmsford on Sunday 23rd.
View the County Championship MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.