PCA PRESS RELEASE
Standout County Championship performers up for monthly award.
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Leicestershire’s Hassan Azad, Warwickshire’s Jeetan Patel, Somerset’s Lewis Gregory and Glamorgan’s Marnus Labuschagne are the four players nominated for the June PCA Player of the Month award.
No player has earned more PCA Most Valuable Player Ranking points than the four players listed in a month, which included four rounds of County Championship fixtures.
Although the next block of Championship fixtures will begin on Sunday 30 June, with three days of those games taking place in July, points accrued in those games will count towards the following month.
The MVP formula was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to reward match-winning performances. Bonus points are awarded, for example, for hitting a high proportion of your team’s runs, taking top order wickets or captaining the winning side.
The formula therefore provides a more accurate representation of the top performers than traditional batting and bowling averages.
The Overall 2019 MVP will receive a £10,000 cash prize at the 50th NatWest PCA Awards in October, following in the footsteps of 2018 victor Joe Denly.
To help you cast your vote, here’s a summary of each of the contenders’ highlights this month.
Hassan Azad has had a month that he will never forget. After a solid start to life in a Leicestershire shirt, passing 50 twice in his first two Championship outings in April, the 25-year-old exploded onto the county scene with a stunning performance against Gloucestershire at Grace Road.
The Karachi-born batsman recorded a century in both innings, making 137 in the first and 100* in the second. Azad claimed 39.86 MVP points for his efforts, unsurprisingly taking home the MVP award for that game. The Leicestershire man backed up that incredible performance with another 92 against Northamptonshire this week. If he can maintain such form, Azad is likely to become one of the breakout successes of the 2019 season.
Warwickshire skipper Jeetan Patel is up for the Player of the Month award for the second consecutive month. The double Overall MVP winner has exhibited all of his international class and experience to dominate almost every batsman he has come up against in June.
After claiming 21 scalps in May, Patel has backed that up with another 19 this month in just three fixtures. The 39-year-old took 10 in the match against Nottinghamshire as the Outlaws just about saved the game at Edgbaston. He had quieter games against Yorkshire and Surrey to finish the month, but still managed to claim at least one wicket in every innings he bowled in. Patel has now claimed the MVP award from three of the seven Championship fixtures the Bears have participated in this season.
The standout performer of 2019 so far makes it three Player of the Month nominations out of three. Somerset’s prodigiously talented all-rounder is now the only player to boast that feat as teammate Craig Overton misses out this month.
Amazingly, the 27-year-old has only played in two first-class fixtures this month. After missing his side’s victory at champions Surrey through injury, Gregory returned with a bang to claim match figures of 11-53 in a crushing 10-wicket victory over Kent. Another five wickets and 54 runs against Essex followed, as Gregory helped his side to keep their dream of a maiden Division One title alive.
Whilst Somerset sit atop Division One, Glamorgan have made the early running in Division Two. The Welsh county’s success has resulted in no small part from the efforts of Australian international Marnus Labuschagne.
Labuschagne has made a consistent contribution to help Glamorgan win two and draw two in June, taking seven first-class wickets and compiling 324 runs at an average of 54. The individual highlight of the month for him was his 147 runs in the match to help his side to a comfortable victory over local rivals Gloucestershire.