Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
20-over Rankings reset on Wednesday as race for Overall MVP begins.
The PCA Vitality Blast Most Valuable Player Rankings will be reset on Wednesday morning ahead of this year’s 20-over competition, whilst the race for the cross-format Overall MVP award will also begin.
This year’s Blast gets underway with four fixtures on Wednesday, beginning with Lancashire Lightning vs Derbyshire Falcons at Emirates Old Trafford, and the MVP will be keeping track of the top performers throughout the competition until Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday 18 September.
The likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes are all set for their first Blast appearances in over two years as they prepare to return having last played in this year’s postponed IPL back in April.
Further intrigue will be added to the beginning of the Blast season by the existence of eight Hundred wildcard slots. Those currently without 100-ball contracts will be aiming to score as many MVP points as possible to put themselves in contention for last-minute selection for this summer’s inaugural Hundred competition through their performances in the Blast.
The recipient of this year’s Blast MVP award will follow in the footsteps of 2020 winner Will Jacks and claim a £2,500 cash prize. Jacks accumulated 177.8 MVP points during a breakout campaign which saw his side Surrey go all the way to the final of last year’s competition.
Jacks’ highly impressive campaign saw him finish 59 points clear of second placed Ian Cockbain, meaning the Gloucestershire man would have had to have scored half of his points tally again to match the 22-year-old’s total.
The beginning of the second men’s competition of the season also marks the return of the cross-format Overall MVP. Every men’s domestic player will have their cumulative MVP points across all formats aggregated throughout the campaign, and the winner will claim a £10,000 cash prize come the end of the season.
The race for this year’s Blast MVP will be unlike any of those that have gone before, as the PCA partnered with CricViz ahead of the beginning of the 2021 domestic season to revamp and relaunch the MVP Rankings.
In white-ball cricket, the new algorithm enables players to score or lose points on every ball, based on their expected performance on that ball in comparison to CricViz’s extensive historical database of T20 fixtures, with the venue being played at also taken into account.
Players aim to give back through performances
This season, the Vitality Blast will carry extra meaning for a group of PCA members as they aim to raise money for the Professional Cricketers’ Trust through the charity’s Club Together for Cricket campaign.
Over 50 individuals who have signed up for the initiative, which allows members of the public to pledge to donate for runs scored, wickets claimed and catches taken by their favourite players, are likely to feature in this season’s competition at some stage.
The campaign, which is hosted via the goalgiving platform, was originally launched ahead of England’s Test series in India, and players have already been raising funds throughout that tour, England Women’s tour of New Zealand and during this year’s LV= Insurance County Championship.
You can visit the Club Together for Cricket campaign page to see which players are involved, with 14 of the 18 first-class counties represented as well as both the England Men’s and Women’s sides.
Your generosity will help the Trust to continue its life-changing work, supporting PCA members and their immediate families when they need it most.
It has also been confirmed that this year’s Vitality Blast Finals Day will be supporting the Trust for a second year in succession, and you can find more details here.