ECB announces innovative selection process for national team

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Andew Straus to stick to No Kevin Pietersen policy
Andrew Strauss. (© Getty Images)

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced an innovative three-match series featuring the best of North and South players, to be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in March 2017. This will give England players an unique chance to press their claims for places in the national squad.

The selections for the tournament will be based on the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s (PCA) Most Valuable Player (MVP) rankings to help select the teams. The PCA has worked with the ECB’s High-Performance Centre (HPC) in Loughborough and together determined the PCA MVP formula, which was used for the first time in 2007.

Andrew Strauss, the ECB’s managing director of cricket, is the brain behind the concept of a North versus South fixture and the use of PCA MVP rankings to select the respective teams. “This is a good opportunity for England, domestic players and the game,” Strauss said on Monday (May 9).

“Finding the best players outside the current England setup, 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,” he added.

The top four England-qualified players from each region in this year’s Royal London One-Day Cup PCA MVP rankings as well as one leading spinner will be selected for the North versus South matches. The rest of the team will be selected by the England selectors, in accordance with the strategic needs of the national team, building up for the mega tournament, to be hosted by England in 2019.

The PCA MVP identifies the top performances in a match by taking into account several indicators such as the pitch conditions, the quality of the opposition, runs scored, wickets taken, captaincy as well as strike rates. It then identifies the match winners and key influences in that particular match through a computed formula.

Jason Ratcliffe, the PCA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who was responsible for the development of PCA MVP is thrilled with the proposal and wants to work more closely with the ECB. “Players hugely value the MVP statistics and many have personal bonus measurements within their contracts based on the standings,” he said.

The PCA MVP rankings has been a huge asset for the ECB in recent times with several players like Moeen Ali, David Willey, Luke Wright, James Vince, Jason Roy, Samit Patel and Ravi Bopara getting selected to the national team, after having scored high on the ranking panel. With 460 cumulative points, Nottinghamshire all-rounder, Samit Patel, ranks first in the PCA MVP system. He’s closely followed by Somerset all-rounder, Peter Trego, who has 442 points while Durham’s wicket-keeper batsman, Phil Mustard comes in third, with 415 points.

More details about the exact dates, the coaches and the ticketing process will be announced by the ECB in due course.

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