PCA PRESS RELEASE
Four nominees enjoy excellent first half of shortened season.
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Craig Overton, Simon Harmer, Ryan Higgins and Chris Cooke are the four nominees for the August PCA Player of the Month award.
The first half of the truncated 2020 season has seen four rounds of Bob Willis Trophy fixtures, as well as a flurry of T20 action as this year’s Vitality Blast tournament has gotten underway.
The top performers across the four-day and 20-over formats have been identified by the PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings algorithm, with the final winner set to be chosen via public vote.
The 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 key disciplines such as scoring quickly, claiming top-order wickets and taking catches in the field.
The Rankings therefore give the most accurate reflection of the top performers in the domestic game.
A cross-format Overall MVP will be named at the conclusion of the 2020 season, but the winner of this particular accolade will be based on performances in August alone.
To help you choose the first Player of the Month of 2020, here is a brief summary of each of the contenders’ highlights this month.
Somerset speedster Overton is the current leader of the Overall MVP with 161 MVP points to his name at an average of 32.32 points-per-game – the highest figure of any player inside the current top 50.
The England international has struck fear into the hearts of batting line-ups across the Bob Willis Trophy Central Group so far this summer, claiming five-wicket hauls against Glamorgan (5-38) and Gloucestershire (5-26). He has also contributed with the bat, with 53 against Northamptonshire helping him to accumulate 26.44 batting MVP points.
2019 Overall MVP Harmer was comfortably the outstanding performer in domestic cricket last year as he inspired Essex to the Specsavers County Championship title. The South African spinner has put himself firmly in the frame for further individual accolades this time around, with only 10 MVP points currently separating him from Overton at the top of the Overall MVP.
His 151 MVP points have come as a result of some typically prolific bowling performances in first-class cricket. Harmer has already claimed hauls of 8-64 and 6-67 against Surrey, as well as 5-54 against Sussex, which has made him the leading wicket-taker in the Bob Willis Trophy as it stands.
Currently the leading out-and-out all-rounder in the Overall MVP, Higgins has built on an impressive 2019 campaign with further strong performances this August.
Higgins’ most memorable contribution came during Gloucestershire’s Bob Willis Trophy fixture against Warwickshire, when the 25-year-old ran through the Bears’ batting order to claim career best first-class figures of 7-42 to secure a sensational 78-run win.
Glamorgan keeper Cooke has been in excellent form with the bat this month, passing 50 on five occasions across both formats, his top score of 82 coming against Somerset in the first fixture of the season.
His 20 dismissals behind the stumps also mean he is currently the leading fielder in domestic cricket. His 33 MVP points put him six clear of closest challenger Ben Cox in that particular discipline.