Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
Essex man finishes top of cross-format MVP Rankings for third successive season.
Simon Harmer has been named the PCA Men’s Domestic Overall MVP for an amazing third year in a row, and the Essex man will collect a £10,000 cash prize after finishing top of the cross-format Overall MVP Rankings.
The PCA Overall Most Valuable Player (MVP) Rankings aggregates MVP points earned across all domestic competitions, meaning Harmer has once again been statistically the best domestic men’s player in all formats this season.
In total, Harmer scored a huge 600 MVP points at an average of 16.2 points-per-game this season, enabling the off-spinner to finish 91 points clear of Derbyshire’s Matt Critchley, who receives a £2,500 runner-up prize for his efforts, in second place.
The Overall MVP lead switched hands regularly throughout the early part of the season, with each of Critchley, Durham’s David Bedingham and Somerset’s Craig Overton, who at one stage led the way for over a month, staking a claim to challenge Harmer’s dominance this season.
However, the South African’s enduring quality shone through in the end, as he led the Overall MVP from 16 July right through until the end of the season on Friday 1 October.
Though Essex surrendered the LV= Insurance County Championship title for the first time since 2018, Harmer once again proved himself to be one of the finest red-ball spinners on the county circuit this year.
No spinner took more competition wickets than Harmer’s 53 in a year during which seamers have excelled, and no slow bowler scored more bowling MVP points than his 223, Leicestershire’s Callum Parkinson next on the list with 218.
Harmer has also spoken about his marked improvement in the white-ball arena this year. No player scored more bowling MVP points in this season’s Royal London Cup than Harmer’s 94.2, his form helping Essex to a semi-final appearance in the 50-over tournament, and he also finished in the top 10 for bowling points scored in the Vitality Blast with 107.
Harmer’s skill has been recognised by both the PCA MVP algorithm and by the fans, as he was named the men’s PCA Player of the Month twice this season in both May and August.
“To do the ‘three-peat’ is not something I set out to achieve, but to be able to say I was the best player in England over a three-year period is an achievement that I can be proud of.”
Three-time PCA Men’s Domestic Overall MVP, Simon Harmer, said: “I’m incredibly proud to finish top of the Overall MVP in 2021. It was a very long and difficult season in terms of the way the fixtures were structured, so to come out on top again is really rewarding.
“As a team, we didn’t perform how we wanted to, but in finishing top of the MVP I can at least look back and be able to say that I made some significant contributions for Essex throughout the season. On reflection, I’m incredibly happy to finish top of the table.
“As far as I’m aware, nobody has won it three years in a row, so I’m really proud to have gotten that achievement. To do the ‘three-peat’ is not something I set out to achieve, but to be able to say I was the best player in England over a three-year period is an achievement that I can be proud of.
“For now, I’ve got a couple of weeks off and then I’m going to go straight back into some more cricket with the Titans in Pretoria down in South Africa. I like to play cricket all year round to try and progress my game as quickly as possible, and as a spinner I don’t find that too taxing. I’m already looking forward to the 2022 season, and I hope we can come back strong at Essex with myself contributing.”
All-rounder Critchley ‘honoured’ to receive prize
For the first time, the PCA has awarded a £2,500 cheque to the player finishing as runner-up in the Overall MVP, Derbyshire’s Critchley the recipient of this year’s cash prize.
The all-rounder has been a key performer for his side in both the LV= Insurance County Championship and the Vitality Blast, also making an additional five appearances for Welsh Fire in The Hundred. Critchley finishes the season with 508 MVP points from his 31 appearances in all competitions, at an average of 16.4 points-per-game.
The 25-year-old started the 2021 season strongly, leading the Overall MVP for the second half of April, his early season form recognised by the fans as he was voted the April men’s PCA Player of the Month.
Critchley was one of five players to reach the 1,000-run mark in the County Championship this year, finishing with exactly 1,000 at an average of 43.5, with eight 50+ scores – a competition-high figure.
“I think it makes it sweeter that this prize recognises what you have done throughout the whole of 2021, not just in one game, one format or one month.”
Those numbers contributed to his 226 Overall MVP batting points, and the all-rounder also scored 227 bowling points after taking 48 wickets in all competitions.
PCA Men’s Domestic Overall MVP runner-up, Matt Critchley, said: “It’s an honour to receive the prize for coming second in the Overall MVP. Thank you to everyone at the PCA for all the work you do for us, and congratulations to Simon Harmer the winner.
“I think it makes it sweeter that this prize recognises what you have done throughout the whole of 2021, not just in one game, one format or one month. It was a special summer for me personally, getting to play in The Hundred for Welsh Fire and also to make 1,000 runs in the County Championship for the first time.
“Thank you to everyone at Derbyshire, the PCA and my family for all the support throughout the year.”
The Overall MVP takes into account performances in the LV= Insurance County Championship, Royal London Cup, Vitality Blast and The Hundred to produce the players who had the biggest impact throughout the season in all competitions.
Over £40,000 has been shared in prize money for the top performers in the MVP across 2021, with competition prize money equal across men’s and women’s domestic cricket.
A new MVP formula was produced at the start of this season by the PCA alongside CricViz and the players for both red-ball and limited-overs cricket, with individuals who have excelled across all formats recognised in the Overall MVP table.
Find out more about the PCA MVP Rankings and view the men’s domestic table.