Warwickshire’s win over Surrey at Guildford took Ian Bell’s team to the top of the Specsavers County Championship (SSCC) and underlined their credentials as realistic challengers to Yorkshire’s title. Underpinning the side’s success has been the performances of some key individuals, highlighted by the Most Valuable Player Rankings.
Warwickshire have the leading player in this year’s Championship campaign in Keith Barker, while four of his county colleagues are in the top 23. Most ominously for other county teams, Jeetan Patel, who took ten wickets in the win over Surrey at Guildford (5-62 and 5-61), is up to seventh in the SSCC MVP. To say Patel has previous in an MVP context is an understatement. He was the overall MVP in 2012 and has finished inside the top six in the Championship MVP in each of the last three years. The off-spinner has taken 50 wickets in each of the last four seasons with last summer his best return of 58 wickets plus a more than useful contribution with the bat of 543 runs.
Barker has only played Championship cricket this summer. He’s scored 405 runs and taken 35 wickets. His strike rate of 73 runs per 100 balls illustrates just how dangerous he can be with the bat and he’s now made three fifties in addition to a hundred against Notts. Barker’s best bowling performance game first up at the Ageas Bowl where he took 5-53 and he has been chipping in with regular top-order wickets since.
Chris Woakes is likely to be lost to England for the majority of the summer. But in the five SSCC he played he averaged a whopping 27 MVP points per game. He scored 252 runs including 121 against Notts and then returned a career best 9-36 in Warwickshire’s next game against Durham. Since the inception of the Rankings in 2007 only Stuart Broad averages more points per County Championship match than Woakes.
One place below Woakes in 22nd is Jonathan Trott, who is proving this season that his hunger for runs remains unabated. He’s made 682 SSCC runs including 219 against Middlesex at Lord’s, four fifties and then another hundred this week against Surrey at Guildford. Rikki Clarke with 172 runs and 24 wickets is 23rd in the SSCC MVP.
For a full list of the country’s leading Championship players please click here
For a list of Warwickshire players please click here