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Essex spinner storms fan vote to win award.
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Essex spinner Simon Harmer has won May’s PCA Player of the Month, receiving 62% of the vote following an outstanding month for the South African.
The 30-year-old was shortlisted alongside Warwickshire captain Jeetan Patel and Somerset pair Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton but the off-spinner blew away the field in the fans vote.
The nominees for the May award were selected via the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings for the calendar month with the poll taking place on the PCA and Sky Sports websites. Harmer flew into contention after taking a staggering 19 wickets in two Specsavers County Championship fixtures to end the month, perfect timing for being fresh in the memory for the supporters vote.
Harmer ran through the Kent team on the final day of domestic cricket in the month by taking eight wickets for 98 runs from 32.5 overs to hand Essex a second consecutive Championship victory which moved them into fifth place in Division One.
With well over half of the vote, Harmer was a clear winner and while he admits it has taken a few red-ball games to get into the groove, he was pleased to win the accolade following Liam Dawson’s award for the April Player of the Month.
“My family are big supporters so I am sure they will have been calling some favours in to get some votes from South Africa,” said Harmer. “I am very grateful for everybody who did vote and it is always nice to get some recognition.
“Our four-day cricket started slowly for us but we have started to string some results together so it was nice to end the month with back-to-back four-day wins.
“We have a massive game against Yorkshire coming up which is the start of playing a lot of the teams who are above us in the table so hopefully we can build on the last two games. Yorkshire are a strong side so we are going to have to play some good cricket and hopefully our batters can cash in and who knows, maybe Jamie Porter will be top of the pops next month.”
Harmer is currently the top wicket taker in the Championship with 29 scalps to his name, which has taken him to second position in the Championship MVP and sixth in the Overall Rankings. The MVP formula was designed specifically by the players in conjunction with the PCA to reward match-winning performances, something Harmer is accustomed to in his role as the Eagles premier spinner.
“The pitches at Chelmsford have been quite spin friendly and it’s always nice to capitalise because you don’t know what will happen at Yorkshire this week. When there are wickets on offer then it’s nice to get stuck in.
“There are a lot of factors as to why I have been consistent, the pitches at Chelmsford do generally turn and if your batters are putting in good performances and big runs on the board then it is a lot easier for spinners to be attacking and look to take wickets so there are a lot of different factors.”
"The pitches at Chelmsford do generally turn and if your batters are putting in good performances then it is a lot easier for spinners to be attacking."
Considered a very useful lower order batsman, Harmer signed for Essex in 2017, a career path which was soon justified by winning the Championship in his first season as he contributed 72 wickets. With his county sitting in mid-table going into a crucial month, the former South African international is keen to maintain performance levels to continue their momentum in the hunt for a second title in three seasons.
“For most counties the Championship is the top of the priority list and we have had a decent start but we are still only four games in and the thing is about the Championship is you cannot really afford to fall behind because when you do there is normally one team who runs away with it. We did it in 2017 and Surrey did it last season. Somerset have got off to a really good start but hopefully we can stick it to them when we play against them in a few weeks time.”
To view the Overall MVP Rankings click here.