20th May 2019

Woakes into World Cup as MVP

Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes has stormed to the top of the PCA England Men’s Overall Most Valuable Player Rankings after an ODI series that saw a significant amount of rotation of the side’s key players.

The experienced seamer finished the five-match series as England’s top wicket-taker with 10 at 21.20, including a stunning five-fer in the final game at Emerald Headingley, which helped him to pick up a huge 53.50 MVP points in the match.

Woakes leads the way in terms of both overall MVP points and average points-per-game with 84.52 and 21.13 respectively. The latter is perhaps a more reliable indicator of player performance so far this summer, given that England have chopped and changed significantly to assess their options ahead of the upcoming World Cup.

Second behind Woakes in both categories is opening batsman Jason Roy.

The Surrey star smashed 277 runs at 92.33 in his three appearances in the series, helping England to an eventual 4-0 series victory after the first game at The Kia Oval was called off due to bad weather.

Roy’s return was particularly impressive given that recent injury woes had threatened to rule him out of the World Cup preparation. An ongoing back problem kept the 28-year-old out of the side for the ODI against Ireland, one-off IT20 against Pakistan and the ODI series opener at his home ground, but he made a blistering return with scores of 87, 76 and 114 in England’s three subsequent matches.

Although he was rested for the fifth and final ODI, Roy had already done enough in those three performances to secure second spot in the Overall MVP.

Skipper Eoin Morgan has continued his fine form in international colours to occupy third position. On top of his batting heroics, the Middlesex man has also benefitted from bonus MVP points so far this summer – one for each time he’s captained his country. During the final ODI at Headingley Morgan also reached the landmark of skippering England for the 100th time in 50-over cricket. Extending his lead at as the most capped ODI captain.

The MVP formula is designed to reward match-winning performances. For example, bonus points are given – as in Morgan’s case – for captaining the winning side. Players will also benefit from scoring a high proportion of the team’s runs or taking top order wickets.

While Morgan’s inclusion in England’s World Cup squad – due to be announced on Tuesday – has long been something of a foregone conclusion, the same cannot be said for Surrey’s Tom Curran.

The young all-rounder needed to perform in the Pakistan series to stake his claim for one of the 15 precious World Cup spots on offer. A succession of impressive all-round performances from Curran will no doubt leave him feeling more confident of his World Cup chances than when the series began.

The 24-year-old averaged 60 with the bat and 31.50 with the ball, accruing 52.75 MVP points in the process to place fourth in the Overall MVP.

Completing the top five for the time being is Yorkshire’s Joe Root, although the Test skipper only just nudges ahead of domestic teammate Jonny Bairstow, who has played three games fewer. Indeed, the wicketkeeper-batsman has averaged five points-per-game more than Root so far this summer.

Following on from a fine debut stint in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad, Bairstow returned to England colours for the first ODI of the five-match series.

Although that match was eventually abandoned, he returned scores of 51 and a sumptuous 128 in the next two games, before he was rested for the final two ODIs with his World Cup place seemingly secured.

England will now look forward to World Cup warm-ups against Afghanistan and Australia. The two matches are not ICC-recognised, meaning players will not be able to pick up MVP points.

As a result, it’s Woakes who leads the Overall MVP going into the biggest summer of English ODI cricket for a generation.