Denly ‘delighted’ with MVP crown
Denly ‘delighted’ with MVP crown

Kent all-rounder Joe Denly has put his summer success down to playing in various overseas competitions over the previous winter after picking up the PCA’s Most Valuable Player for 2018 cheque for £10,000.

The 32-year-old was presented with the accolade which shows statistically, Denly was the most consistent performer in county cricket in 2018. Not only did he win the Overall MVP with an astonishing 579 points, he was the MVP for both white-ball competitions as he piled on runs and took crucial wickets with regularity.

Denly scored 1,749 runs across all formats this summer and took 57 wickets – a remarkable achievement given he had only taken 75 wickets in his previous 14 seasons.

His sparkling form has earnt him a recall to the England set-up for the first time since 2010 and a debut selection for the Test squad and he has expressed his delight at his MVP prize as his latest show of recognition.

“I’m absolutely delighted, it’s obviously a great accolade to get,” said Denly.

“It’s a great award and it’s for the efforts with bat and ball, it certainly helped bowling a bit more this year. To win it just as a batter would be tough so it helped bowling a few overs.

“It hasn’t just been individually; as a team we have achieved a lot as well. Personally, to be honest it would have been nice to have ended the season better and to have scored a few more runs in the Championship to get past 1,000. However, across all forms I’ve been pretty consistent this year which has been pleasing and bowling a few overs has certainly helped in the MVP process.”

Taking an astonishing amount of wickets for somebody who was regarded as a ‘part-time’ spinner, he has proved to be the Spitfires key weapon in ensuring promotion and having successful white-ball season. The Canterbury born man has attributed his success to enjoying his role as vice-captain and testing himself in global competitions as he joked he should have bowled more earlier in his career.

“It is nice to finally get recognition for the leg-spin which I have been bowling for quite a while and maybe if Keysey (Rob Key) and Sam Northeast would have bowled me more earlier in my career, I might have been an all-rounder before now!

“Just bowling more overs has been the difference, it helped being captain at the beginning of the year and being able to give myself a bowl whenever I wanted. I had a busy winter coming into this summer and was bowling a lot at the various competitions I was playing in, not necessarily in games but in nets and I really enjoyed it.

“I took that into this season and with bowling more overs I became more confident.”

Denly created headlines throughout the season but without doubt his biggest individual performance of the season was against Surrey in the Vitality Blast, hitting a hundred before taking a hat-trick ensured he earnt over 50 MVP points, the most from an individual t20 game this summer.

From that moment at the beginning of July, Denly has been in command at the top of the table in the race for the £10,000 prize, a cheque which was presented to him by the PCA at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

“It would be hard to look past that game at the Oval to be honest, to get a hundred and then a hat-trick in the same game and win against the old rivals as well was a pretty special day and a good number of MVP points in that game as well.

“To win the MVP by the margin I have is very satisfying and something I’m pretty proud of so hopefully I can come back next year and get even more points.

“The money is a bonus, absolutely! Not the reason you do it for or why everyone plays but it’s certainly an added bonus to the accolade, that’s for sure.”

The honours for Denly do not stop at the Overall MVP, with an impending tour of Sri Lanka with England and a potential England cap, the top-order batsman is in the running to take over from Samit Patel and be crowned the NatWest PCA Players Player of the Year.

“It is pretty special and a nice surprise receiving that golden ticket so to know your fellow professionals and hopefully a few opposition players as well have voted for me is great and I look forward to the NatWest PCA Awards next Thursday.

“Later this month I will be leaving for Sri Lanka and getting that call topped off an amazing year, I am delighted and it’s a dream come true really so I can’t wait to get started and get over to Sri Lanka.”

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