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Five T20Is against New Zealand kick off winter schedule.
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The PCA England Most Valuable Player Rankings returns in the early hours of Friday morning as the Three Lions take on New Zealand in a T20I at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.
The fixture is the first of a five-match series down under for Eoin Morgan’s men, with the schedule allowing for a renewed focus on the shortest format ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in October next year. Two Test Matches against the same opposition will follow, before England embark upon a two-month tour of South Africa in mid-December and visit Sri Lanka in March.
Chris Woakes took home the Overall MVP award for summer 2019, thanks largely to the consistency of his performances in 50-over cricket. With the seam bowler, as well as World Cup stars such as Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler, rested for the upcoming T20I series, the opportunity presents itself for Woakes’ competition to make headway at the summit of the MVP.
Pat Brown, who has been confirmed to make his full international debut on Friday, Lewis Gregory and 2019 Royal London One-Day Cup MVP Saqib Mahmood are amongst the fast bowlers vying for a spot in the T20 side – the trio are in line to make their full international debuts on the back of their strong domestic form this summer.
Uncapped leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson will be looking to stake a claim as the side’s second spinner alongside Moeen Ali, as the ever-impressive Adil Rashid continues to play through an ongoing shoulder injury.
Despite revealing this week that he played through pain for the duration of England’s successful ICC Cricket World Cup campaign, Rashid was amongst the most impressive performers in the side’s opening warm-up fixture last weekend.
The leg-spinner took 2-25 from four overs on his return as England limited a New Zealand XI to 172-4 in the first fixture in Lincoln. Jonny Bairstow’s rapid 78 not out helped England to knock off the total with 11 balls and six wickets to spare, as he opened the batting alongside PCA Young Player of the Year Tom Banton, who made 11. Sam Curran, who is set to make his T20I debut alongside Brown on Friday, made a quick-fire 28.
Although a Colin Munro-inspired New Zealand XI claimed victory by eight wickets in the second game on Tuesday morning, there were still positive signs for England as James Vince (46 from 32 balls), Joe Denly (39 from 25) and Gregory (29 from 11) helped the side to post 188-5 in the first innings.
Whilst we know that Brown and Curran will make their T20I bows on Friday, there is also a chance of a debut for Banton or Gregory after Denly was unfortunate to injure his ankle in training on Thursday.
The MVP formula was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the key influencers and match-winning performers in any given fixture.
On top of traditional batting and bowling averages, bonus points are awarded for key disciplines such as claiming top-order wickets, scoring quick runs and taking catches in the field.
Cross-format players are likely to excel in the Overall MVP, which takes into account performances in Tests, ODIs and T20Is, but the PCA also awards a specific prize for each of the three formats.
Skipper Eoin Morgan was the winner of the T20I MVP for summer 2019, albeit with England only participating in one fixture against Pakistan in a year dominated by the 50-over World Cup.
He will lead the side alongside newly appointed vice-captain Sam Billings, whose excellent domestic form at the back end of last season also puts him amongst the leading contenders for the format-specific prize this winter.
View the England MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.