Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association
An update on the early season points scoring as focus shifts to T20.
With the 2023 domestic cricket season well and truly underway, it’s a good time to delve into the workings of the PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings and take a look at the early leaders.
The PCA MVP is a unique algorithm developed by the PCA, the players and CricViz in order to identify the most effective performers in domestic and international cricket.
The MVP works by comparing a players accomplishments against the expected performance for that specific game. Runs and wickets achieved at each ground are also considered and compared to the average. Enabling players to score or lose MVP points on every ball through CricViz’s extensive historical database, meaning the rankings is a true reflection of performance.
The top individuals in all English men’s and women’s domestic cricket are tracked with the players accumulating points to determine the very best at the end of the season or competition, with £2,500 and a Mappin & Webb trophy up for grabs for each individual domestic competition.
Last year, the coveted Overall prizes were won by Georgia Adams, who took home the trophy for PCA Women’s Domestic Overall MVP along with £7,500 prize money and Will Jacks who won the award for PCA Men’s Domestic Overall MVP and £10,000.
We take a look at the early contenders in this year’s tables so far with the LV= Insurance County Championship matches and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy games to consider before attention turns to the T20 format.
LV= Insurance County Championship
Taking an early lead in the men’s domestic table is Middlesex all-rounder Ryan Higgins, who recently moved back to the Lord’s based club following a spell with Gloucestershire.
The 28-year-old has amassed 166 points so far, with 90 coming from his batting performances, 66 with the ball and the rest made up from fielding, team victories and Match MVP points.
Scoring an impressive 373 runs at an average of 46.6 batting predominantly at number seven in his five games so far, April’s PCA Player of the Month has scored important runs when his team needed it, managing to dig them out of a hole whilst wickets were falling around him on multiple occasions. These runs are deemed crucial in the MVP, with the match situation being taken into account.
Top of the bowling table is Warwickshire’s Chris Rushworth, who has enjoyed a fruitful wicket-taking start to the season following his move from Durham.
The 36-year-old leads the MVP bowling table with 119 points and actually tops the leading wickets takers in Divisions One and Two with 30 wickets at an average of 14.2.
Rushworth picked up two Match MVP awards for performances against Essex and Hampshire earning his 37 and 43 points respectively.
Rushworth’s wickets against Hampshire are worth a lot to his points scoring as his second innings figures of 7-38 helped his side bowl the opposition out for just 97 to secure victory by an innings and 84 runs.
The performances of the Bears opening bowler have ensured that his side are the early challengers to Surrey, who are looking to win the LV= Insurance County Championship in back-to-back years, sitting three points behind the Kia Oval based side.
Leading the batting table with 111 points is Lancashire number three Josh Bohannon. In similar circumstances to Higgins, Bohannon doesn’t lead the actual run scoring table itself, he sits behind Cheteshwar Pujara, James Rew and Rishi Patel, in fourth, however his runs have been crucial for his team.
Scoring 108 off 187 balls against Surrey in the fourth innings of the match after Lancashire were bowled out for 291 in the their first innings meant Bohannon scored favourably when it comes to MVP points, having seemingly saved the game for his side in the final innings.
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
Nadine de Klerk’s impressive all-round performances have helped The Blaze to a four-point lead at the top of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table.
The South-African has pitched in with both bat and ball, scoring 82 runs at an average of 27.3 and taking nine wickets with an impressive average of 11.8 with an economy rate of 4.0.
The 23-year-old’s most impressive game came against Northern Diamonds where she won the Match MVP award and picked up 23 points to add to her tally.
Steamrollering through the Diamonds batting line-up, de Klerk took incredible figures of 7-33 to help dismiss the opposition for just 62. Her wickets ultimately deciding the result of the game in the first innings helping her side to a five-wicket victory and 21 MVP bowling points.
Leading the batting table and the Overall MVP rankings is South East Stars’ Paige Scholfield.
The 27-year-old has scored 303 runs at an average of 101 with two hundreds and a brilliant strike-rate of 104.9, earning her 100 points on the Overall MVP table.
Having worked on her batting over the winter with former Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens, April’s PCA Player of the Month has been in blistering form securing two Match MVP awards for her hundreds against Western Storm and Thunder.
Securing her first professional century against Thunder, Scholfield then scored a new career best a week later with an unbeaten 134 off 109 balls to help her team to a 207-run victory.
Coming in at number six with the score at 74-4 and then being able to score at a strike-rate of 122.9 and help South East Stars to 296-7 is the reason she attained 38 MVP points during this game.
Top of the MVP Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy bowling table is Georgia Davis who has secured 33 MVP points.
The Central Sparks off-spinner has taken 12 wickets at an average of 10.5 with an exceptional economy of just 3.4.
Picking up the Match MVP award for figures of 4-19 off 7.3 overs against Northern Diamonds in a seven-wicket win for Central Sparks, the 23-year-old’s contribution with the ball against Thunder was also a notable performance in the early weeks of the season.
Davis took figures of 2-38 off her 10 overs as the opposition scored 234 but the most impressive aspect was taking the wickets of opening batter Emma Lamb for 56 and number six Sophie Ecclestone for 74 off 65 balls as both batters were set well and scoring quickly.
This week, alongside seven red-ball fixtures in the men’s game, attention turns to the T20 format as the Charlotte Edwards Cup gets underway with Sunrisers v Central Sparks at Chelmsford on Wednesday and the Vitality Blast beginning with a double header at Edgbaston on Saturday.
Last year, Central Sparks’ Amy Jones picked up the Charlotte Edwards Cup Player of the Year trophy with Hampshire’s James Vince winning the Vitality Blast Player of the Year award.
Find out more about the PCA MVP Rankings and view the men’s and women’s tables.