Saturday, April 13, 2024

PCA: Test MVP back for SL series

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Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association

Rankings reset ahead of subcontinent tour.

The PCA Test Most Valuable Player Rankings returns in the early hours of Thursday morning ahead of England’s two-match Test series against hosts Sri Lanka.

It will be the first time the red ball Rankings have been reset since Joe Root’s side capped off their 2020 home Test summer with a 1-0 series victory over visitors Pakistan.

At the end of England’s 2020/21 winter schedule, which includes the two fixtures against Sri Lanka ahead of a challenging four-match series in neighbouring India, a Test MVP will be named alongside ODI, IT20 and cross-format Overall MVPs.

Seam bowler Stuart Broad was the last England player to be named the Test MVP following a golden 2020 summer which saw him claim his 500th Test wicket on his way to a total of 146.5 MVP points in the longest format.

Before Broad, all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been rested for the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka, was the last man to be named the winter Test MVP, after he accrued 144 MVP points across tours of New Zealand and South Africa during winter 2019/20.

Unlike in New Zealand and South Africa, the pitches in Sri Lanka and India are likely to suit England’s spinners. During England’s last tour of Sri Lanka, which saw the side claim a 3-0 Test series sweep in late 2018, Moeen Ali, Jack Leach and Adil Rashid claimed 48 wickets between them before the leg-spinner went on to win the winter Overall MVP.

With Rashid no longer in the Test picture, that means that the likes of Dom Bess, Leach and Ali, who misses the at least the first Test after receiving a positive Covid-19 test result and developing symptoms, will be eyeing the top spots in the MVP table.

Should Moeen sit out the entire Sri Lanka series, reserve spin bowlers Mason Crane, Matt Parkinson and Amar Virdi will be looking to make a name for themselves on the international stage, though Root has already hinted that England will field three seamers in the first Test and he will take on more responsibility with the ball himself.

With Stokes, Rory Burns and Ollie Pope all missing for at least the Sri Lanka series, there are also opportunities for new and returning batsmen alike to stake their MVP claims.

2020 Vitality PCA Young Player of the Year Zak Crawley is expected to open the batting in Burns’ absence, and will be looking to make the most of his promotion to the top of the order, whilst Jonny Bairstow, who made his last Test century batting at three during the 2018 tour, has a point to prove as he looks set to occupy the same spot in the order this time around.

Rising star Dan Lawrence is in line to make his international debut and feature amongst the England MVP Rankings for the very first time. The Essex man averages 38 in first-class cricket and has ten centuries in the format to his name at the age of just 23.

Going into the two-match Test series, which will take place at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is currently the highest-ranked player in the Overall MVP who is also expected to feature for the Test side. The vice-captain currently has 26 MVP points against his name following England’s three IT20 fixtures in South Africa late last year.

Bairstow and all-rounder Sam Curran are the only other individuals in the Sri Lanka Test squad to have previously made Overall MVP headway this winter – the duo are sitting on 16.8 and 15.2 MVP points respectively.

View the England MVP Rankings.

Find out more about the PCA MVP Rankings.

Keep up-to-date with all the latest MVP news by following the @pcaMVP on Twitter.

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