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Top performers in the County Championship and One-Day Cup make shortlist.
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Warwickshire’s Jeetan Patel, Essex’s Simon Harmer and Somerset’s Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton make up the four-man shortlist for May’s PCA Player of the Month award.
The four players have accrued more PCA Most Valuable Player Ranking points than any other player this month, and the overall winner will now be decided by a supporters’ poll on the PCA and Sky Sports websites.
The MVP formula was designed specifically by the players in conjunction with the PCA to reward match-winning performances.
For example, players will receive bonuses for taking top order wickets, captaining the winning team or hitting a high proportion of their side’s runs. The formula provides a more accurate reflection of the key performers than traditional batting or bowling averages can.
The Overall MVP for the 2019 season will receive a £10,000 cash prize at the end of the season and will follow in the footsteps of 2018 winner Joe Denly.
Unsure who to vote for? Here’s a quick lowdown of each of the contenders’ highlights this month.
Winner of the 2014 and 2016 Overall MVP, Jeetan Patel has rolled back the years this month with a series of stunning performances with the ball, particularly in the County Championship. Indeed, the 39-year-old has picked up the Man of the Match award in two of his last three first-class outings.
The first came against Hampshire as Patel picked up eight wickets in the match at Edgbaston. More was to come within the space of two weeks, though, as the former New Zealand international spun his team to victory with a sensational 8-36 in the second innings against Surrey at the same ground. Patel bowled 18 maidens in his 31 overs as he claimed what are now his career best figures. No player has accrued more MVP points this month than Patel’s 132.
Anything Patel can do, Essex’s Simon Harmer can do as well. The South African-born spinner not only joins Warwickshire’s captain in claiming two Man of the Match awards this month, but even picked up an eight-wicket haul himself on the same day as Patel’s.
That performance came in his side’s victory against Kent, as Harmer took each of the last four wickets to fall to finish the game off. Prior to that game, the 30-year-old had picked up eight in the match against Nottinghamshire, whilst contributing a handy 43 with the bat, too. Harmer’s performances have moved him up to second and sixth in the PCA’s County Championship MVP and Overall MVP Rankings respectively.
27-year-old Gregory has been the standout performer of the 2019 season so far. He has been nominated for Player of the Month in both April and now May, and currently sits top of both of the PCA’s Overall and Championship MVPs thanks to a string of stellar performances in the 50-over and four-day formats.
The all-rounder’s most impressive outing this month came against Surrey in the County Championship. Gregory took five wickets in the match, either side of a stunning 129* at a strike rate of 84.31, including five sixes. The Somerset man followed that performance up with another five wickets against Warwickshire at Taunton, before taking 1-42 against Hampshire at Lord’s to help Somerset lift the Royal London One-Day Cup – their first domestic title for 15 years.
Gregory’s teammate Overton has been producing international-quality performances on the domestic stage for the majority of this season. He’s won two Man of the Match MVP awards: one against Hampshire in the One-Day Cup group stage, and the other against Warwickshire in the Championship.
In the first game, Overton removed two of Hampshire’s top three at a miserly economy rate of just 3.57 runs per over. Against Warwickshire, the powerful all-rounder returned incredible figures of 5-18 in the first innings, before dusting himself down to go out to bat with Somerset in trouble at 76-6 in the second. Overton duly smashed an unbeaten 36 to help Somerset up to 164 all out, before they snuck home by just 49 runs – a truly match-winning performance.