Adil Rashid topped off a 3-0 T20I series victory over the Windies by winning the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings for England this winter after a string of fine performances in all formats of the game.
The Yorkshireman was pushed all the way by fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes. Rashid edged him out by just six points as he finished with 198 thanks to some outstanding white-ball bowling, taking 14 wickets in the limited overs games in the Caribbean.
The 31-year-old showed he was adept in all situations either side of the Christmas break between tours. While he only played in four of the six Tests, he still finished in seventh position in the red-ball standings and was in third place after the leg-spinner played a key role in the Sri Lanka whitewash.
He was the only player to feature in all white-ball games this winter and ended up in second position in the ODI Rankings, behind Eoin Morgan. The England captain led from the front in the ODIs by scoring 195 runs while only being dismissed once in Sri Lanka and followed that up with scores of 65, 70 and 103 in the drawn series with the West Indies.
With 137 international games under his belt, Rashid remains a mystery spinner with batsmen still unsure on his variations, particularly the lower order, highlighted by taking four wickets in five balls in Grenada to finish off the thrilling ODI in Grenada with 807 runs scored in the match.
He also finished in third position in the T20I table, finishing just four points behind the winner Jonny Bairstow who secured 50 points with Chris Jordan in second place.
Test captain Joe Root underlined his importance to his side by finishing in third position. The 28-year-old expertly led his country to a red-ball whitewash in the Sri Lanka, the first ever for England in Asia. Despite the Windies coming out on top of the Test series, Root hit an important century in England’s sole victory and backed that up with his 14th ODI hundred and his fifth T20I fifty as highlights for the final leg of the winter.
Moeen Ali ended in fourth position on 171 points after consistent performances across the winter as the Worcestershire all-rounder fulfilled a number of roles across the tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies as he ended as England’s number one spinner in Test Match cricket.
Vice-captain Jos Buttler ended in fifth position, largely thanks to his phenomenal 150 off just 88 balls in the penultimate ODI, his highest score in an England shirt. Having played in all six Tests, he hit four half-centuries to finish in fifth position in the Test MVP. Despite only five real opportunities to bat in the 50-over format, he still finished in third position and remains one of the world’s premier white-ball stars.
The international MVP is reset at the beginning of every summer and winter with the formula designed by the players to identify the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout every single fixture.
The innovation provides a more rigorous analysis of player performances than traditional batting and bowling averages with the MVP algorithm giving full credit to those players whose performances improve their team’s chances of winning.
It would be easy to forget the heroics in Sri Lanka but England won the ODI series by three games to one with the opening game of the tour starting on October 10. A one-off T20I followed with Joe Denly taking four wickets to win the game before a 3-0 Test triumph made history for the tourists with spin dominating for Root’s men.
With Ali and Rashid regulars in the England set-up, they featured heavily in Sri Lanka but it was Somerset’s Jack Leach who was the MVP for the Test series with Ali and Rahsid following close behind.
The spin trio took a combined 48 wickets across the three Tests with Leach and Ali finishing joint-top for the series with 18 poles apiece, arguably the standout result of the winter.
Leach scooped 84.24 MVP points, after a combination of inspired individual performances and was unlucky to miss out on selection in the West Indies. From the entire winter period, it is Leach who ended the campaign with the highest MVP point average, taking a whopping 28.08 points per game.
However, Rashid’s consistency and longevity proved to be England’s Most Valuable Player in the 2018/19 winter as he leads into a summer where England will need their premier leg-spinner in similar form.