Harmer and Cook shortlisted for 2021 cinch PCA Awards

Harmer Cook MVP 

The shortlists for the 2021 cinch PCA Awards, including for the first ever cinch PCA Women’s Young Player of the Year award, have been announced with 14 of the season’s outstanding performers across the international and domestic game recognised.

Following the introduction of 41 new female members to the PCA, the cinch PCA Women’s Player of the Year award has been opened up to include domestic players for the very first time. The shortlisted candidates are evenly split between international and domestic cricket, with Sophia Dunkley, Danielle Gibson, Eve Jones and Nat Sciver all in contention for the award.

The first cinch PCA Women’s Young Player of the Year award sees Alice Capsey shortlisted at just 17 years of age, an outstanding achievement in itself given she is yet to sign her first professional contract. Capsey is up for the award alongside Charlie Dean and Dunkley, who is the only player nominated for two of the main cinch PCA awards this season.

England Test captain Joe Root headlines the candidates for the cinch PCA Men’s Player of the Year award – he is shortlisted alongside David Bedingham, Luke Fletcher and Simon Harmer, who was also shortlisted in both 2019 and 2020.

As with the women’s award, the cinch PCA Young Men’s Player of the Year sees three individuals shortlisted, with Harry Brook, Sam Cook and Tom Haines up for this season’s award.

In the absence of an in-person event, the cinch PCA Awards are being announced virtually throughout the final stages of the 2021 domestic season, with a number of the competition award winners having already been revealed.

Tuesday 28 September will see the finale of the cinch PCA Awards with the four headline award winners being announced live on Sky Sports during lunch on the opening day of the Bob Willis Trophy final.

cinch PCA Men’s Player of the Year – Shortlist

David Bedingham (Birmingham Phoenix/Durham)

Bedingham has been a run machine for Durham in red-ball cricket throughout the 2021 season. One of only three players to have passed the 1,000-run mark ahead of the final round of LV= Insurance County Championship fixtures, the 27-year-old has made three big hundreds in the competition, also passing 50 on three further occasions. Going into the final round of fixtures, Bedingham was averaging 66.8 in the competition with a high score of 257 – his career best total.

The South African has also made an impact in the white-ball arena, his 292 runs at 41.7 helping Durham to reach the Royal London Cup final, whilst he also made 298 runs at 22.9 in the Vitality Blast.

Luke Fletcher (Nottinghamshire/Welsh Fire)

Fletcher’s outstanding contributions with the ball in First-Class cricket have kept Nottinghamshire in the hunt for both the LV= Insurance County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy titles right into the latter stages of the season.

Statistically speaking, Fletcher has been the outstanding bowler in the Championship so far this year. He is likely to finish top of the charts in terms of wickets taken with 63 already to his name ahead of the final round of fixtures, and only one player – Somerset’s Craig Overton – has taken more than 25 wickets at a better average than Fletcher’s 14 during this year’s competition. Fletcher is also in contention to win the PCA County Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, he leads the standings going into Tuesday’s fixtures with 329 MVP points to his name.

Simon Harmer (Essex)

Harmer’s name is becoming a regular feature on the shortlists for the cinch PCA Awards. Having been shortlisted for both the 2019 and 2020 awards, the off-spinner is now up for the cinch PCA Men’s Player of the Year for a third time in succession.

Likely to finish among the top five wicket-takers in the main domestic red-ball competition for a fifth season in a row, Harmer has arguably been as impressive in limited-overs cricket this year. His 18 wickets at 19.6 in the Royal London Cup helped Essex to a semi-final appearance, whilst the South African also claimed 19 Vitality Blast wickets at 18.3 His efforts this season have already been recognised by the fans, Harmer having been voted the PCA Men’s Player of the Month in both May and August.

Joe Root (England/Trent Rockets/Yorkshire)

Test captain Root has led by example for England this summer, and having already been named the LV= Insurance Test Player of the Summer on Monday, he now has the opportunity to add to his tally of individual accolades this season.

Across his six Test appearances this summer, the 30-year-old scored 661 runs at an average of 66.1, racking up three sensational hundreds in consecutive fixtures against India in August. In addition, Root made unbeaten scores of 79 and 68 during England’s ODI series against Sri Lanka the previous month, and he also scored 291 runs in five Championship appearances for Yorkshire, including 101 against Kent in the season’s second round of fixtures.

cinch PCA Women’s Player of the Year – Shortlist

Sophia Dunkley (England/South East Stars/Southern Brave)

Dunkley has established herself as one of the stars of both the international and domestic game during the past two seasons, so much so that it’s easy to forget she is still only 23 and has her best years ahead of her.

The batting all-rounder’s excellent form in domestic competition – and The Hundred in particular – led to a first Test appearance against India in June, followed by her ODI debut just 11 days later. Dunkley has immediately looked at home in both formats, starring with an unbeaten 74 during the one-off Test Match before going on to score 101 runs in the three-match ODI series, the second highest figure for an English player behind teammate Sciver (142).

Danielle Gibson (London Spirit/Western Storm)

Consistency has been key for Gibson throughout a season during which she has excelled in each of the Charlotte Edwards Cup, The Hundred and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

In her 21 appearances across the three competitions, Gibson has amassed over 250 cumulative runs, averaging 36 and with a strike rate of 180 in The Hundred, as well as 13 wickets including seven at an average of just 15.3 in the Charlotte Edwards Cup. Gibson’s all-round talents are illustrated by the fact that she has scored 37 fielding MVP points in the PCA MVP Rankings – the second most of any outfielder in the women’s domestic game.

Eve Jones (Birmingham Phoenix/Central Sparks)

No matter the competition or format, Jones has guaranteed runs for both Birmingham Phoenix and Central Sparks throughout the 2021 season. Equally adept at opening up for Sparks or batting slightly further down the order for Phoenix, the 29-year-old has made almost 800 runs across all competitions, averaging 55.2, 48.3 and 29.1 in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and The Hundred respectively.

Jones’ individual highlight was an unbeaten century made against Thunder in the 50-over competition as she carried her bat throughout the entire innings, and she also made three consecutive 50+ scores in the latter half of the Charlotte Edwards Cup group stage, being named MVP of the Match on each occasion. Jones’ efforts were recognised by the fans as she was voted the PCA Women’s Player of the Month for two consecutive months in July and August.

Nat Sciver (England/Northern Diamonds/Trent Rockets)

Arguably England’s most important player across all formats, Sciver has once again proved why she is one of the world’s most talented all-rounders during the 2021 season.

Sciver has consistently produced in all formats, across both the international and domestic stage, during a mammoth season which has seen her score over 550 runs and take 18 wickets in 23 appearances, with ODI fixtures against New Zealand still to come. Sciver has already been recognised at the cinch PCA Awards with the Vitality IT20 Player of the Summer, and she will be looking to repeat her feat that she achieved in 2017 in winning the main player-voted women’s award.

cinch PCA Men’s Young Player of the Year – Shortlist

Harry Brook (Northern Superchargers/Yorkshire)

This season has seen Brook cement his place at the heart of Yorkshire’s batting order, and confirm his status as one of the rising stars of the English game.

The 22-year-old, who has previously captained England U19s, excelled in the Vitality Blast in particular, where he finished fourth in the run charts and had a higher average (69.4) than any other batter to have scored at least 300 competition runs. Brook also displayed his astronomic potential during his five Hundred appearances, scoring 189 runs and averaging 47.3 for the Superchargers during the inaugural competition. Brook’s versatile talents extend to red-ball cricket, his two Championship hundreds this season showcasing his all-round ability.

Sam Cook (Essex/Trent Rockets)

Cook has been the outstanding young bowler of a season where he has spearheaded Essex’s attack across both the LV= Insurance County Championship and the Vitality Blast.

No matter the format, Cook has claimed regular wickets early on in the innings, bagging 48 Championship scalps at 16.6 and 20 Blast wickets at 18.3, bowling with a healthy economy of 7.82 in the latter competition. Called up to The Hundred as a Vitality Wildcard pick for Trent Rockets, Cook also managed a wicket for each of the four appearances he made in the 100-ball competition.

Tom Haines (Sussex)

Youngster Haines has shown talent beyond his years as he has been rock solid at the top of the order for Sussex in the LV= Insurance County Championship this season.

The first batter to pass the 1,000-run mark in this year’s competition, Haines tops the run-scoring charts with 1,132 going into the final round of fixtures and he is unlikely to be caught before the end of the season. He has made nine 50+ scores, including three hundreds, averaging 49.2 despite Sussex enduring a difficult season in the First-Class arena. A fourth century of the season arrived for Haines as he made 123 against Middlesex in the Royal London Cup.

cinch PCA Women’s Young Player of the Year – Shortlist

Alice Capsey (Oval Invincibles/South East Stars)

At just 17 years of age, Capsey is the youngest player shortlisted for any of the main four cinch PCA Awards this season.

The bowling all-rounder has enjoyed a sensational breakthrough season for both South East Stars and Oval Invincibles, helping the latter all the way to victory at Lord’s in the first edition of The Hundred. In that tournament, Capsey took 10 wickets in just 135 balls, whilst also bowling with an economy of just 4.52 – the fourth-best figure in the competition despite often bowling at the top of the innings. With the bat in hand, Capsey has done particularly well in the Charlotte Edwards Cup where she accumulated 203 runs at an average of 40.6.

Charlie Dean (England/London Spirit/Southern Vipers)

A dream season for 20-year-old Dean culminated with her recent debut for England and subsequently her first wickets at international level during the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand.

Dean earned her call-up by regularly being a thorn in the side of batting line-ups across all three domestic women’s competitions this season. The off-spinner has taken a combined 23 wickets in domestic T20 and List A cricket in 2021, notably returning figures of 5-19 against Central Sparks in the Charlotte Edwards Cup – her first five-fer at senior level.

Sophia Dunkley (England/South East Stars/Southern Brave)

Dunkley has been one of the stars of a huge year for women’s cricket which saw the introduction of 41 female domestic pros into the PCA as well as the establishment of two new competitions: The Hundred and the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

The all-rounder has played in all 12 of England’s games this summer to date and was the sixth-highest ranked English player in the women’s Hundred MVP. Her impressive performances in the debut tournament saw her score 244 runs at 40.7 as Southern Brave went all the way to the Lord’s final. Dunkley also made 196 runs in her three Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy appearances, including 104 not out against Sunrisers – her third List A century.