Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes has finished the summer as the England ODI PCA Most Valuable Player after a series of outstanding performances throughout his side’s successful World Cup campaign and the preceding series against Pakistan.
The opening bowler has performed admirably at the top of the innings in each of his 15 ODI appearances this summer, and finished just five MVP points clear of his nearest challenger, Test skipper Joe Root, who had topped the ODI MVP until Sunday’s historic final.
Four years of hard work paid off for England after the team lived up to their pre-tournament billing as the world’s number-one ranked ODI side. In a gripping final, which may go down in history as the greatest cricket match of all time, the Three Lions defeated New Zealand by virtue of accumulating more boundaries in the match than their counterparts, after both the game and the following super over were tied.
Just like the final itself, the race for the ODI MVP was decided at the last possible moment.
Woakes had gone into the match in second place in the MVP, narrowly behind teammate Root, who enjoyed a stellar World Cup campaign of his own. However, the Warwickshire man produced characteristically excellent figures of 3-37 from his nine overs to usurp Root at the last opportunity.
Across his 15 ODI appearances this summer, Woakes claimed 26 wickets at 25.3 apiece to first help sink Pakistan 4-0, then guide his side to cricket’s ultimate prize. He has been named PCA Player of the Match twice in that time, including after the crucial semi-final demolition of old rivals Australia.
In all, Woakes claimed 180.45 MVP points, including 142.22 for his bowling – the most of any player in the squad. He finished five points clear of Root in second, and 13 clear of England’s best batsman Jason Roy in third. Completing the top five are Roy’s opening partner Jonny Bairstow and star all-rounder Ben Stokes in fourth and fifth respectively.
The latter single handedly carried England on multiple occasions throughout the World Cup, and none more so than during the showpiece final.
Arriving at the crease with the scoreboard reading 71-3, Stokes made 84 not out to take England to within touching distance of glory. The 28-year-old then struck eight of England’s 15 runs during the super over, with the 16-run target proving agonisingly out of reach for the Kiwis.
England’s star all-rounder deservedly claimed the MVP award for what was surely the biggest game of his career so far with 16.06 points.
The MVP algorithm was designed by the PCA in conjunction with the players to reward match-winning performances, and recognises the importance of all-rounders such as Stokes.
The international MVP is reset before the beginning of every summer and winter, giving us an ODI winner after England’s last 50-over game of the summer on Sunday.
The aforementioned Root was unlucky not to have won the ODI award himself, after he finished the World Cup as England’s top run-scorer with 556 at 61.78.
Third-placed Jason Roy would have also proved a worthy winner. He finishes the ODI summer with the highest points-per-game average of England player with 15.20.
Roy’s opening partnership with fourth-placed Bairstow has proved pivotal to England’s success. The duo shared four century stands during the tournament – the most by any opening pair in a World Cup.
The figures aren’t surprising when you consider that the Bairstow-Roy partnership has aggregated 2223 runs in just 32 innings at an average of 69.46. The next highest average of any pair to have opened at least 30 innings together is legendary West Indian duo Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes with 52.55.
While the opening pair have led the way with the bat, Jofra Archer has excelled with the ball.
Although he didn’t make the ODI MVP top five, Archer finished the World Cup as England’s leading wicket-taker with 20 – an unbelievable stat for a player whose international career has so far only consisted of 14 50-over games.
The 24-year-old’s importance to the team is illustrated by the England leadership group’s decision to have Archer bowl the all-important super over after Sunday’s final.
Only ODI MVP winner Woakes, who played one game more than Archer, claimed more ODI bowling points than the latter this summer. After such an impressive start to his career, Archer is set to become the spearhead of England’s attack for many years to come.
That could begin in just 17 days as the much-anticipated home Ashes series gets underway, and the race for the 2019 Test MVP begins.