Graham Napier nominated for PCA Award


Graham Napier has been nominated for the PCA’s NatWest Players’ Player of the Year Award and will come up against three other nominees in Ben Duckett, Keaton Jennings and Jeetan Patel.

The flagship award, which is voted for by current professional cricketers in England and Wales, will be presented at the 47th NatWest PCA Awards which will be held at Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Wednesday September 28.

Two other rising stars will also be hoping to lift the John Arlott Cup and be recognised by their fellow professionals with Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond and Surrey’s Sam Curran joining Duckett and Hameed on the shortlist to be awarded the NatWest Young Player of the Year.

There are also three nominees in the Waitrose Women’s Player of the Summer category, voted for by players who featured for England women this summer and they earmarked Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Lauren Winfield as contenders.

The NatWest PCA Awards evening is an event run by the PCA in association with the England and Wales Cricket Board and will once again be sponsored by NatWest after previously holding naming rights for 10 years. The Awards reflect on and honour the domestic season with all monies raised on the night going to the PCA Benevolent Fund.


Graham Napier (Essex):
Napier is in with a chance of lifting the Reg Hayter Cup in what would be a fitting end to his 20-year career with Essex. A season haul of 97 wickets in all formats and 378 runs saw the all-rounder lead his county back to Division One of the Specsavers County Championship in his final hurrah.

Napier has now retired to take up a coaching post at the Royal Hospital School in Suffolk where he has succeeded Don Topley, another former Essex player. Essex clinched promotion against Glamorgan at Chelmsford in Napier’s 179th and final first-class match.

Napier, a staunch supporter of the PCA Benevolent Fund, ended his farewell season with 69 first-class wickets and five five wicket hauls. He also contributed almost 300 championship runs including the seventh first-class century of his career against Sussex at Colchester in August.

Napier showed white ball cricket isn’t necessarily a young man’s game too with his 34 wickets meaning he can leave the sport on a high and importantly on his terms.

Jeetan Patel (Warwickshire):
Patel is a nominee for the second time in three years after a consistent summer which saw the former New Zealand off-spinner lead the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings for the majority of the second half of the campaign and starred in Warwickshire’s run to lifting the Royal London One-Day Cup, taking 22 wickets in the process.

Patel has taken almost 100 wickets across all formats, with four five wicket hauls in the Specsavers County Championship including 10 wickets in the win over Surrey at Guildford which briefly took Warwickshire top of the First Division in early July.

The 36-year-old is on course to win the PCA’s MVP Award for the second time in three years at the conclusion of the season tomorrow to underline his consistent top-class performances.

Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire):
A destructive top order batsman, Duckett has punished bowlers throughout 2016, hitting 2,706 runs across all formats and starred for the England Lions where he hit a record breaking 220 not out against Sri Lanka A at Canterbury, the highest ever score by a Lions player, which was followed by a first call-up to the senior England squad to tour Bangladesh next month.

The 21-year-old also hit five hundreds in red-ball cricket, including two double centuries with a career-best 282 not out to open the season against Sussex at Wantage Road. Duckett, a product of Stowe School, also made three centuries in white ball which helped secure a sufficiently high position in the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings to earn an invitation to play for the North against the South in a pioneering three-match series in the United Arab Emirates next March.

Duckett top-scored for his county in each of the three formats and ended the NatWest T20 Blast season with 477 runs, at a strike rate of 142 which included smashing 84 from 47 balls in the T20 Blast semi-final against Nottinghamshire.

Keaton Jennings (Durham):
Durham’s top order batsman has had a season to remember hitting a club record seven Specsavers County Championship Division One hundreds at an average just shy of 70 amongst his 1,522 runs during his 16 four-day encounters.

Jennings, the son of former South Africa coach Ray Jennings, made two double centuries including a career-best 221 against Yorkshire in June and played a huge part in securing Durham’s place in the top tier of the Championship. The 24-year-old left-hander also stood out in the NatWest T20 Blast, scoring 348 runs at an average of 43.5 while taking 17 wickets in all formats.

Although Jennings missed out on a place on England’s senior tour to Bangladesh there was compensation with his first call-up by the England Lions for their trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Full list of Awards to be presented on Wednesday September 28:

Harold Goldblatt Award for the PCA Umpire of the Year
Greene King PCA England Masters MVP
ECB Special Award
PCA Special Merit Award
NatWest T20 Blast Player of the Year Award
Royal London One Day Cup Player of the Year Award
Sky Sports Sixes Award
Greene King Team of the Year
Waitrose Women’s Player of the Summer
Investec Test Player of the Summer
John Arlott Cup for the NatWest PCA Young Player of the Year
Reg Hayter Cup for the NatWest PCA Player of the Year
Overall PCA County MVP