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Skipper rises above the rest with double ton in New Zealand.
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England captain Joe Root’s resilient 226 in the second Test Match against New Zealand at Hamilton has helped him to rise to the top of PCA’s England Test Most Valuable Player Rankings ahead of the upcoming series in South Africa.
Root, whose last Test ton came against the West Indies back in February, occupied the crease for more than ten hours in posting the highest score by a visiting captain in New Zealand. In doing so, he earned 46 MVP points for the match, enough to propel him to the summit of the Test MVP ahead of Rory Burns in second and Sam Curran in third.
The majority of the Root’s total of 52 MVP points for the series came as a result of his memorable vigil, after the Yorkshireman made just a combined 13 runs in the first Test at Mount Maunganui.
That places him 21 points clear of fellow batsman Burns in second, who made the majority of his 101 at Hamilton in a 177-run third wicket stand with his captain.
Burns, who now has two career Test centuries to his name after his 135 against Australia in the summer, also benefited from a respectable performance at Mount Maunganui, where he made 83 runs across two knocks.
Whilst Root and Burns comfortably accumulated the most batting MVP points for their side in the New Zealand series, Curran has been leading the way for the English bowlers.
Six wickets at 39.7 across the two-Test series might seem like a relatively modest return for the 21-year-old, but it has been enough for Curran to rack up 24 bowling points, three more than his fellow seamers Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.
Completing the current top five are star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who made a sumptuous 91 at Mount Maunganui, in fourth and Broad, who took four wickets in the series, in fifth.
The Test MVP was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the match-winning performers in any given fixture. On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus points are awarded for scoring a high proportion of your team’s runs, claiming top-order wickets and taking catches in the field, amongst other important disciplines.
The algorithm was reset prior to the series just gone in New Zealand, and will continue to keep track of England’s best Test performers across four upcoming Tests in South Africa and two in Sri Lanka during March of next year, with the Test MVP for 2019/20 officially named in April.
Broad was the most recent recipient of the Test MVP for summer 2019 after he accumulated 144 MVP points across the Ashes and the preceding one-off Test Match against Ireland at Lord’s. The last winter Test MVP was Moeen Ali, thanks to a string of excellent performances against Sri Lanka and West Indies which earned him 153 points across the 2018-19 season.
On top of the format-specific Test Ranking, the PCA is continuing to keep track of the best performers across all formats via the Overall MVP table.
The aforementioned Curran currently leads the Overall MVP, although he enjoys the advantage of having appeared in more fixtures – seven in total – this winter than any other England player so far.
In fact, a total of ten players are currently averaging more MVP points-per-game than Curran’s 9.06, with four of those – Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Chris Jordan and Matt Parkinson – having exclusively appeared in the five-match T20I series that preceded the Tests.
The Overall MVP top five currently consists of Curran in first position, Malan in second, Root in third, Morgan in fourth and Jordan in fifth.
With six of the current Overall MVP top ten being limited overs specialists, it’s likely that the red-ball players will begin to move up the table as England take on their next assignment: four Tests in South Africa beginning in Centurion on Boxing Day.
View the England MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.