England star Stokes shortlisted for PCA award
Ben Stokes has been shortlisted for the Professional Cricketers’ Association players’ player of the year award after starring for England in the World Cup and Ashes this summer.
Stokes has been nominated alongside Gloucestershire all-rounder Ryan Higgins, Essex spinner Simon Harmer and Warwickshire opener Dominic Sibley ahead of the 50th edition of the annual PCA Awards on Wednesday, October 2.
Stokes won the young player award in 2013 and if he scoops the Reg Hayter Cup at London’s Roundhouse next Wednesday, he will become only the sixth player to collect the PCA’s top two male honours.
Having started the World Cup with a phenomenal catch in the curtain-raiser, Stokes’ unbeaten 84 against New Zealand in the final was central to England winning a global 50-over competition for the first time in their history.
The all-rounder followed that up with a tour de force 135 not out against Australia at Headingley last month, an unforgettable innings in a series where his 441 runs at an average of 55.12 was England’s best aggregate total.
Despite Australia retaining the urn courtesy of a 2-2 series draw, Stokes’ herculean efforts in recent months mean he is the favourite with bookmakers to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Higgins, Harmer and Sibley have all been standout performers in the domestic schedule, the former shining with both bat and ball to lead Gloucestershire to the verge of promotion to Division One in the County Championship.
Harmer leads the way among Division One wicket-takers, while Sibley will almost certainly finish as the leading run-scorer in the championship.
The 24-year-old Sibley is also in the running for the young player award, alongside Somerset big-hitter Tom Banton, Kent opener Zak Crawley and Gloucestershire batsman James Bracey.
Sibley and Crawley have both received maiden Test call-ups for England’s winter tour to New Zealand, while Banton has been included in the squad for the Twenty20 portion of the trip after amassing in excess of 1,000 runs across the two domestic limited-overs competitions.
Bracey’s form across all formats saw him handed a debut for England Lions against Australia A in July.
England trio Sophie Ecclestone, Katherine Brunt and Amy Jones have been named as the nominees for the women’s player of the summer gong.
Slow left-armer Ecclestone, who scooped the honour last year, was England’s leading wicket-taker in both multi-format series against the West Indies with six scalps, while she had 13 victims in the Ashes.
Despite Australia handily retaining the urn, Brunt collected eight wickets in the series, while opener and occasional wicketkeeper Jones is included after her tally of 189 runs in three one-day internationals at an average of 63 against the Windies.