Simon Harmer, Darren Stevens, Kyle Abbott and Moeen Ali are the four nominees for the September PCA Player of the Month award.
This month has seen the final three rounds of the Specsavers County Championship unfold at the same time as the knockout stages of this year’s Vitality Blast.
The top performers across the four-day and 20-over formats have been chosen via the PCA’s Most Valuable Player Rankings algorithm, with the final winner set to be decided via a public vote.
The MVP algorithm was built by the PCA in conjunction with the players to identify the match-winning performers in any given fixture. Bonus points are awarded for scoring a high proportion of your team’s runs, claiming top-order wickets and taking catches in the field, among other important disciplines.
The MVP Rankings therefore give a more accurate reflection of the game’s best players than traditional batting or bowling averages do.
Essex’s Harmer claimed the £10,000 prize for being the Overall MVP of the 2019 season after his side’s County Championship title win at Taunton on Thursday. However, the winner of this accolade will be based on performances from the last four weeks of the season.
Previous Player of the Month awards this season have been won by Liam Dawson (April), Harmer (May), Hassan Azad (June), Ravi Ashwin (July) and Tom Banton last time out in August.
To help you choose the sixth recipient of the year, here is a brief summary of each of the contenders’ highlights this month.
Simon Harmer (Essex)
The 2019 Overall MVP has finished the season in customarily fantastic form. Harmer has accumulated 166 points since the start of September – the most of any domestic player.
The off-spinner recorded 6-143 against Warwickshire in the Championship before making an unbeaten 50 and claiming 7-58 in his very next four-day game against Surrey. He then played a starring role in Essex’s successful Finals Day bid – taking combined figures of 7-35 on the day and being named the PCA Player of the Match in both the semi-final and the final.
Darren Stevens (Kent)
It would not be unfair to say that Stevens has played himself into Kent’s squad for next season this month. The 43-year-old was due to leave the club at the end of this year, but has earned a new contract at Canterbury on the back of his performances in the latter stages of the season.
The most notable of those was Stevens’ outing against Yorkshire at Headingley on September 19. An incredible career-best 237 from 225 balls was followed by a five-wicket haul to win the game on the last day. Stevens’ 91.48 MVP points for the match was the highest total of any player in any fixture this season.
Kyle Abbott (Hampshire)
Abbott joins Stevens in having produced a truly historic individual performance this September. His match figures of 17-86 against Somerset at the Ageas Bowl were the best in first-class cricket since Jim Laker’s famous 19-90 in 1956.
The South African added eight more wickets for the month in Championship fixtures against Surrey and Kent to go alongside that unbelievable performance against the then-league leaders.
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
While Harmer, Stevens and Abbott have primarily received nominations as a result of their County Championship form, Moeen Ali has been dominant in the Vitality Blast.
The England international was inspirational in his side’s quarter-final victory over Sussex, smashing 121 off just 60 balls, including 11 sixes. Ali continued his good form into Finals Day, bowling eight overs at an economy rate of 4.38 and making 53 runs at a strike-rate of 143 across the semi-final and final.