ECB announce North v South series in UAE with an eye on 2019 World Cup

Warwickshire's Keith Barker ranks second in MVP rankings for 2016.
Warwickshire's Keith Barker ranks second in MVP rankings for 2016.
©REUTERS / Action Images

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a three-match domestic North v South series to be played in March 2017 in the United Arab Emirates with an eye on the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The players for the two teams in this one-day competition will be selected using the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s (PCA) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Rankings.

The top four players in the rankings in each region and the top-ranked spinner will be selected for each team while the England selectors will pick the remaining players with a focus on building a squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

ECB’s Managing Director of England Cricket Andrew Strauss announced the new series and said that it will be a great opportunity for identifying the players who are ready to take the plunge into the international level.

“This is a good opportunity for England, domestic players and the game,” Strauss said.

“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.

“As a player you always like to see how you rank – it gives you recognition and here it comes with the added bonus of getting further into the England reckoning as we look ahead to the World Cup here in 2019.

“And for fans it also gives an added element to the Royal London One-Day Cup, putting the spotlight on the players to follow in the 50-over game.”

The PCA MVP rankings are calculated based on a formula which factors in the contribution of the player while accounting for conditions of the match, quality of the opposition and strike rates apart from the number runs scored and the number of wickets taken.

The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the PCA Jason Ratcliffe said that the players value the MVP rankings and termed the announcement as a great news.

"It's great news to work more closely with the ECB and utilise more high performance criteria to create the output.

“Players hugely value the MVP statistics and many have personal bonus measurements within their contracts based on the standings."

More details about the series including the appointment of coaches and ticketing details will be announced shortly, the ECB confirmed in a press release.

© Cricket World 2016