Bowlers come to the fore to be nominated for second award of season.

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Craig Overton, Simon Harmer, Kyle Abbott and Ryan Higgins are the four nominees for the May PCA Player of the Month award.

This month has seen four rounds of LV= Insurance County Championship take place, with fixtures up to and including Sunday 2 May having been included in the April award, which was won by Derbyshire’s Matt Critchley.

The best players from May’s fixtures have been identified via the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings algorithm, which was refreshed and relaunched ahead of the 2021 season, with the winner set to be decided by a public vote.

The MVP was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the top performers in the game. Relaunched in 2021 with assistance from cricket’s leading analytics experts CricViz, the algorithm takes into account key match-defining contributions on top of traditional batting and bowling averages to give the most accurate picture of the best performers in the game.

An MVP will be named for each domestic competition throughout the season, as well as a cross-format Overall MVP come the end of the campaign. The four nominees for the May PCA Player of the Month award are amongst the frontrunners for that award, as all of them currently occupy positions inside the top 10 of both the Overall and County Championship MVP.

To help you decide which PCA member to vote for this month, here is a brief rundown of each of the four contenders’ individual highlights from May:

Craig Overton (Somerset)

For the second month in succession, Craig Overton has scored more MVP points than any other player, accumulating 96.2 points at an average of 48.1 points-per-game from his two appearances this month. The fearsome fast bowler therefore sits top of the County Championship MVP with 237 total points across this season.

This month, the Overton has claimed 11 First-Class wickets at an average of just 8.9 each, as well as striking a quickfire 74 against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, earning bonus MVP points for his strike rate of 79.6 in that innings. Overton was named MVP of the Match for that fixture, earning 62.5 MVP points across the four days.

Simon Harmer (Essex)

The reigning Overall MVP is back in familiar territory having enjoyed an excellent month which has seen Harmer earn 91.3 MVP points from his three County Championship appearances.

The overwhelming majority of the off-spinner’s wickets this month came during a remarkable performance against Derbyshire which saw Harmer claim match figures of 12-202, including 9-80 in the first innings. Harmer was unsurprisingly named the MVP of the Match for that game, but he has also chipped in with the bat in subsequent fixtures, making 40 not out against Warwickshire and 47 not out against Durham.

Kyle Abbott (Hampshire)

Abbott has enjoyed a sensational month for Hampshire, claiming three five-wicket hauls which have led to 72.8 MVP points from his three appearances this month.

The fast bowler excelled during his side’s win over Middlesex at Lord’s in particular, claiming match figures of 11-85 to be named MVP of the Match with 55 MVP points. Abbott repeated the feat against Leicestershire during the next round of fixtures, the standout performer in the game with 37.8 MVP points having taken 6-47 during the Foxes’ first innings.

Ryan Higgins (Gloucestershire)

Higgins joins Overton in being nominated for the PCA Player of the Month for a second time this season. For the second month in a row, the Gloucestershire all-rounder ranks fourth in terms of MVP points earned, with 66.1 points to his name.

The 26-year-old has consistently taken wickets throughout the month, finishing with 11 to his name at an average of 24.7 each. Higgins has also chipped in with the bat, his 49 against Middlesex contributing to 16.9 batting MVP points earned this month.