English players will have the chance to press their claims for places in the 2019 ICC World Cup in an innovative North v South three match series which will be played in Abu Dhabi next March using the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s Most Valuable Player Rankings to help select the teams.
The PCA and the England and Wales Cricket Board’s High Performance Centre at Loughborough have worked closely to enhance the PCA MVP formula which was first introduced in 2007.
The top four England-qualified players from each region in this season’s Royal London One Day Cup PCA MVP Rankings plus the leading spinner will be selected to play in the North v South matches with the remaining players chosen by the England selectors who will be thinking about the strategic needs of the England team in the build-up to the next World Cup.
Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s Managing Director of England Cricket, is the driving force behind the North v South fixture and the use of the enhanced PCA MVP Rankings in the selection process.
“This is a good opportunity for England, domestic players and the game,” Strauss said.
“Finding the best players outside the current England set-up, playing them against each other in overseas conditions and placing them in an England environment will help us see if they’re ready for international cricket.
“As a player you always like to see how you rank – it gives you recognition and here it comes with the added bonus of getting further into the England reckoning as we look ahead to the World Cup here in 2019.
“And for fans it also gives an added element to the Royal London One-Day Cup, putting the spotlight on the players to follow in the 50-over game.”
The PCA MVP Rankings identifies the match winners and key influencers of matches by using a formula that measures each player’s total contribution by taking into account conditions, quality of opposition, captaincy, strike rates as well as runs scored and wickets taken.
Jason Ratcliffe, the PCA Assistant Chief Executive Officer who was responsible for creating the MVP rankings, said: “It’s great news to work more closely with the ECB and utilise more high performance criteria to create the output.
“Players hugely value the MVP statistics and many have personal bonus measurements within their contracts based on the standings”
In recent years high-achieving MVP performers including Moeen Ali, David Willey, Luke Wright, James Vince, Jason Roy, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara have gone on to play for England.
Nottinghamshire all-rounder Patel has most cumulative points in 50 overs cricket since the PCA MVP Rankings were introduced with 460, 18 more than Somerset all-rounder Peter Trego with Durham batsman/wicketkeeper Phil Mustard third with 415 points.
Further details, including ticketing and coaches, about the North v South series in Abu Dhabi next March will be announced over the summer.