Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel was chosen to launch a new North versus South challenge at Lord’s this week – because of his consistent success in domestic one-day cricket.
The all-rounder has scored the most points under the Most Valuable Player scheme run by the Professional Cricketers’ Association.
Those MVP rankings will be used in the selection process for the two teams in a series of three 50-over matches between North and South to be played in Abu Dhabi next March.
Four of the places in each 13-man squad will be filled by the leading four players in the rankings from this season’s Royal London One-Day Cup – with a fifth available to a specialist spinner if none make it to the top four.
The other eight or nine will be decided by the England selectors at the end of this season – including Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket Mick Newell.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Patel. “It’s going to show all the players in county cricket that they’ve got a chance to earn a place and get on the England radar in the build-up to the Champions Trophy next year and a home World Cup in 2019.
“That’s going to be good for the Royal London competition as well. We’ve still got great memories at Notts of winning a Lord’s final in 2013, and we’re all looking forward to the start of this year’s competition next month.”
Former England captain Andrew Strauss, now the ECB’s director of England cricket, has been the driving force behind the introduction of the North-South series.
“We think it will work well for both the domestic and international game,” he explained.”
“We recognised that we need to make quite a radical transformation in our white-ball cricket, and this is part of that process.
“Hosting the World Cup in 2019 offers an incredible opportunity for the game in this country, to engage with a new audience for the game.
“Finding the best players outside the current England set-up, 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.
“It will also be a good shot in the arm for the domestic one-day game, as the use of the PCA’s MVP rankings provides a direct link between performances in the Royal London One-Day Cup and selection for the North and South teams.”
The rankings, which were introduced in 2007, have been amended this year after the PCA worked closely with the ECB’s High Performance Centre at Loughborough.
Notts Outlaws launch their Royal London campaign with a home game against Northants at Trent Bridge on Monday June 6.
The competition has been brought forward this season to be played earlier in the summer, with each team’s eight group matches played in two blocks of mostly white-ball cricket in June and July, before quarter finals and semi finals in August and the traditional Lord’s final in September.
The excitement of NatWest T20 Blast returns to Trent Bridge on Friday 20 May as Notts Outlaws face Birmingham Bears in the first of seven home matches in the competition.
Supporters can witness every minute of the action with a NatWest T20 Blast Season Ticket, priced at just £84 (adults), £63 (over 65s) or £203 (family 2+2), with Membership available to U16s at £26 and U21s for £36.