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Top Blast performers aiming to be picked up for inaugural competition.
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Richard Gleeson, Sam Northeast, Michael Pepper and James Fuller are leading the way in the PCA Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player Rankings for those who do not currently have a contract for The Hundred.
The Vitality Wildcard Draft takes place on Thursday 7 July with each team able to pick one England qualified player to bolster their squad ahead of the second edition of the 100-ball competition.
This means eight players will be selected to join up with their new squads ahead of the tournament starting on Wednesday 3 August. The successful players will automatically be placed in the £30,000 salary bracket.
With the Blast group stage now completed, performances in the 20-over format this season should have a strong influence on which players are picked up, with the PCA MVP Rankings offering a clear picture of the best performers from white-ball cricket.
The MVP algorithm takes into account expected performance on every ball according to CricViz’s extensive database, and also considers the historic performances of the venue each fixture is being played at, therefore giving a more accurate reflection of the top performers in the game than traditional batting and bowling averages do.
As a result, players who are near the top of the Blast MVP and don’t currently hold a Hundred contract will be hoping to be rewarded for their excellent performances when the Vitality Wildcard picks are made on Thursday.
Here’s a brief rundown of the top MVP performers who will be in contention on the day:
The Top 10
In terms of total Blast MVP points scored this season, Hampshire Hawks all-rounder Fuller holds a narrow advantage of those not currently under contract in The Hundred. Fuller has 183 MVP points, just six ahead of Worcestershire’s Brett D’Oliveira.
The top 10 has a balance of youth and experience, all-rounders, seamers, spinners, top-order batters and potential keeping options with all having impressive seasons. Joe Denly who sits in 10th spot in the list is 39th in the Overall Blast table, out of 304 who have played the competition, with the experienced batter showing his class again in 2022.
The Top 10 Batters
Hundred teams looking to add some extra firepower to their batting line-ups will be inspecting the expected performances of the top Blast batters, something the MVP does on a ball-by-ball metric.
After a flurry of top performances towards the end of the group stage, Northeast sits on 136 MVP points, 19 ahead of second place Stevie Eskinazi.
It has been a breakout summer for Michael Pepper so far who has 111 points thanks to striking 403 runs at a rate of 167 per 100 balls. Of those to have scored over 400 runs, only Rilee Rossouw, Adam Lyth and Wayne Madsen have a better strike-rate than the Essex man.
The Top 10 Bowlers
With an absence of centuries in the inaugural Hundred, teams will be vying for the top bowlers to make a difference and prevent high scores again in 2022 with Richard Gleeson leading the way. The Lancashire fast bowler has been called up to Jos Buttler’s IT20 squad and is bound to be sought after in the Draft on Thursday.
Looking at bowling MVP points alone, Gleeson sits in third place, behind two overseas stars in Naveen-ul-Haq and Simon Harmer and is in second place in the traditional top wicket-takers table to underline his credentials. The 34-year-old is15 points ahead of next best Michael Hogan in second position in the Wildcard possibilities table.
Regarding spinning options, Derbyshire’s Mattie McKiernan and Glamorgan’s Prem Sisodiya are the leading players.
Sitting in third in the overall Blast MVP, Ben Mike is in 10th spot for his seam bowling alone and will be in consideration for his all-round abilities.
The Top 5 Wicketkeepers
London Spirit and Northern Superchargers only currently have one keeping option within their ranks so the top five potential keepers could be in prime position for a move to Lord’s or Headingley.
The top three have not kept wicket this season but do have the ability to do so and have fantastic campaigns in the Blast. The Middlesex batter Eskinazi sits in 11th spot in the overall Blast table while new Sussex recruit Alsop is in 29th.
Gloucestershire’s James Bracey and Ollie Robinson, who has been on-loan at Durham, have been impressive behind the stumps and with bat in hand and if teams are looking for specialist keepers, both are in fine form.