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The young Australian has enjoyed a stellar debut campaign for Glamorgan
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Glamorgan’s Marnus Labuschagne was the biggest mover in the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s Overall Most Valuable Player Rankings this week, following yet another match-winning outing for the Cardiff-based side.
The Ashes hopeful moved up four places from ninth to fifth in the Overall MVP after scoring 147 runs in his side’s victory over local rivals Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Unsurprisingly, Labuschagne was named the PCA MVP for that game, as he helped his side to remain atop Division Two of the County Championship and keep their promotion dream alive. No Glamorgan player has won more than the 25-year-old’s three MVP awards this season.
Although Labuschagne sits over 100 MVP points behind Somerset’s Lewis Gregory in first, no player is doing more to put pressure on the runaway top four of Gregory, Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel, Somerset’s Craig Overton and Essex’s Simon Harmer.
The 25-year-old is currently fourth in the format-specific Championship MVP, behind usual suspects Gregory, Harmer and Patel.
Last week, Harmer took advantage of Gregory’s absence to move top of the Championship MVP, leaving it up to the latter provide a response as the two title hopefuls faced off at Chelmsford.
Despite his side’s eventual loss, Gregory did just that courtesy of another solid performance.
The 27-year-old returned match figures of 5-85 and struck 54 runs across his two innings to move back above Harmer and into top spot, as the Essex spinner only claimed two Somerset wickets in the match.
The Somerset hero has returned to his comfort zone, leading both the Overall and Championship MVPs by a sizeable margin, thanks largely to his remarkable all-round talents.
The MVP formula is designed to reward match-winning performances, and recognises the importance of a genuine all-rounder. Bonus points are awarded for hitting a high proportion of your team’s runs, scoring quickly and taking top order wickets, amongst other things.
The formula therefore gives a more accurate reflection of the top performers than traditional batting or bowling averages.
Elsewhere in the Championship MVP, Surrey’s Rikki Clarke has moved into the top 10 following his side’s first victory of the season against Warwickshire at the Kia Oval.
He has risen above Derbyshire’s Luis Reece, Kent’s Matthew Milnes and Hampshire’s Kyle Abbott, none of whom featured in a week where only five fixtures took place across the two divisions.
Clarke could soon find himself moving again, though, given how little there is to separate the players around him the Championship Rankings. There is currently just a 14-point difference between Kent’s Harry Podmore in fifth and the aforementioned Milnes in ninth.
Indeed, Clarke remarkably finds himself on the exact same amount of MVP points as Overton – both have 156.56 for the season.
Whilst Clarke is certainly no stranger to the county circuit, the same can’t be said of Leicestershire’s Hassan Azad.
The opening batsman is enjoying something of a breakout month. After hitting a century in both innings against Gloucestershire last week, the Karachi-born man followed that up with another 92 in his only knock against Northamptonshire.
Azad currently sits 37th in the Championship MVP, and could prove to be one of the stories of the season if he continues his current form.
Azad is not alone in enjoying a number of notable milestones recently – Durham’s victory over Sussex included multiple individual highlights.
South African-born Brydon Carse took his maiden first-class five-fer, before teammate Ben Raine recorded career-best figures of 6-27 to wrap up the win for Durham. Ned Eckersley and Alex Lees also hit centuries, but neither could match Cameron Bancroft’s 158 – enough for the Australian to take home the PCA MVP award.
The County Championship returns with a block of eight fixtures beginning on Sunday 30 June, as the race for the PCA MVP intensifies going into the second half of the domestic season.
View the Overall MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.