Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball has been shortlisted for the Professional Cricketers’ Association Player of the Month Award, along with Gloucestershire’s Ryan Higgins, Matt Henry of Kent and Lancashire’s Tom Bailey.
The four topped the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings after the first month of the domestic season and the winner will now be decided by supporters through a poll on the PCA website as well as Sky Sports app and website. You can vote here.
Voting is now open and will close at 7pm on Wednesday May 2.
Ball celebrates being nominated after helping Nottinghamshire to the top of the Specsavers County Championship Division One’s table with a second innings five-wicket haul against Worcestershire.
In the process, the England paceman climbed the top of the overall MVP Rankings with 109 points, despite not being named Man of the Match so far this season.
After a frustrating winter, Ball has started the season in the best possible manner, taking nine wickets in their season opening win against Lancashire before backing that up with five dismissals and an impressive 74 runs against Yorkshire.
The consistent 27-year-old has taken 21 wickets in April after his seven scalps against Worcestershire helped to take newly-promoted Nottinghamshire to the summit of the Championship.
Just four points behind Ball, Higgins is currently in second position of the MVP, starting his career at Gloucestershire with a flourish after his winter move from Middlesex.
The all-rounder had a County Championship debut to remember for his new club, taking his maiden five-wicket haul in the second innings against Kent to help his side to a five-wicket victory, claiming the MVP Man of the Match award in the process.
The 23-year-old then impressed with the bat against Glamorgan with two half centuries in vain before Gloucestershire bounced back at Hove with another Man of the Match performance from their new signing.
Another career-best with the ball saw Higgins take five for 21 from his 10 overs in the first innings against Sussex and followed it up with three dismissals in the second while scoring 18 not out before the weather ended an exciting run chase.
Kent’s seam bowler Henry is also shortlisted despite only playing two County Championship appearances due to their tour game against Pakistan.
The New Zealand international has been on sparkling form for the Division Two outfit taking, seven wickets in the first game of the season against Gloucestershire at Canterbury, a performance that could not stop Higgins and Gloucestershire taking the victory.
However, Henry was not to be outdone in Durham after the long journey up the A1 was even more successful with the 26-year-old removing five batsmen in the first innings before taking a career-best haul of seven wickets for 45 runs in the second to end April with 90 points and give Kent their first victory of the season.
Lancashire opening bowler Bailey had a strong finish to the opening month of the season, a timely reminder of his ability with England’s record wicket taker James Anderson set to return for the Red Rose County on Friday.
After taking eight wickets in his opening two fixtures of the season, Bailey excelled against Surrey in the drawn fixture at Emirates Old Trafford.
The 27-year-old doubled his wicket tally for the season with eight victims, removing each of the top six batsmen across both innings, which is beneficial in the MVP Rankings.
Bowlers gain more ranking points if they take wickets of top order batsmen and similarly, runs gain more points if they are scored quickly or in low-scoring contests.
Despite Bailey’s brilliance, the Lancastrian could not beat Surrey or the weather with the game ending in a draw.
The MVP formula was designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic and international season.
An innovation which provides a more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages, the MVP formula gives full credit to those players whose performances improve their team’s chances of winning.
Points are accrued for all runs scored and wickets taken, these are then adjusted within the context of the match to take into account strike rates and economy rates.
Runs gain more points if they are scored quickly or in low-scoring contests. Top order wickets are judged more valuable than those that fall later. Catches, run-outs and stumpings are also accounted for as well as bonus points for captains and players who are on the victorious side.
The player who tops the overall PCA County MVP Rankings at the end of the season receives a £10,000 reward.
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