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Fast bowler enjoys fairytale return whilst all-rounder leads Test and Overall tables.
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Mark Wood capped off a memorable comeback series for England with a man-of-the-match performance in his side’s fourth and final Test against South Africa, with Ben Stokes leading both the Test and Overall MVP Rankings at the conclusion of the Three Lions’ 3-1 win in Johannesburg.
Wood was named MVP of the Match at Imperial Wanderers Stadium after returning career best Test match figures of 9-100, regularly touching speeds of 94mph in a devastating first innings performance that saw him take 5-46, his second career Test five-wicket haul, in South Africa’s total of 183 all out.
The tailender has proved his batting credentials in the past with a Test high score of 52, and backed up his rapid 42 in Port Elizabeth with another 53 runs in this match whilst only being removed once by the South African bowling attack.
As a result, Wood deservedly claimed the MVP of the Match award in Johannesburg with 47 MVP points. The fast bowler now averages the most MVP points-per-game (37) of any England Test player this winter, ten more than off-spinner Dom Bess, who, like Wood, has appeared in two Tests.
The series has marked an incredible comeback for popular dressing room character Wood, who has regularly reached his top bowling speeds despite the third Test in Port Elizabeth being his first appearance in any format, international or domestic, since the World Cup final back on 14 July.
In that seven-month period, Wood’s teammate Stokes has gone from strength to strength, being named the NatWest PCA Players’ Player of the Year, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and ICC Cricketer of the Year following an unforgettable 2019.
Not content with his multiple individual accolades, England’s talismanic all-rounder has produced some of the best cricket of his career to date during the Test series in South Africa, scoring 318 runs at 45.42 and claiming ten wickets, including numerous crucial breakthroughs, at 22 runs apiece.
Those stats, allied with Stokes’ 12 catches in the slips – a series high for either side – and efforts during the two-Test series in New Zealand, translate to 144 Test MVP points for the winter for the all-rounder at an average of 24 points-per-game.
That’s enough to see Stokes lead both the Test and cross-format Overall MVP Rankings based on his performances in the longest format alone – he was rested for the five-match T20I series against New Zealand which constitute England’s only limited overs fixtures of their winter schedule so far.
The PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings were developed by the Association 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 important disciplines such as claiming top-order wicket and taking catches in the field.
At international level, Test, ODI, T20I and Overall MVPs are named at the conclusion of both of England’s summer and winter schedules, meaning there are eight MVP awards per year for the men’s side.
Other MVP headlines from Johannesburg include the continuation of skipper Joe Root’s good form with the bat. His 117 runs across the match have helped him to stay second in the Test MVP, with him and Stokes well clear of paceman Stuart Broad in third. Root has also earned three bonus points for captaining the winning side on three occasions in the series.
It has also been a breakthrough series for three of England’s most talented young batsmen, with Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley averaging 89, 54 and 33 respectively in South Africa. Sibley and Pope sit sixth and seventh respectively in the Test MVP, just behind all-rounder Sam Curran in fourth and Wood in fifth.
In terms of the Overall MVP, Stokes again sits top with 144 points, with Curran (132) in second and Root (130) in third. Broad and Wood complete the current top five. The race for the Overall MVP will heat up as England face their first ODI fixtures since the World Cup, beginning in Cape Town on Tuesday next week.
View the England MVP Rankings here.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.