Lewis and Craig on longlist for LVCC Breakthrough player of the year award

Coverton outSomerset all-rounders Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton have both been included on the longlist for the 2014 LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player award.

Lewis and Craig, who have also been voted players of the month by readers of the InCider this year, join eight other emerging players who have been recognised for their performances in the championship.

The award, now in its third year, was established by championship sponsor LV= to celebrate the next generation of young cricketers.

It’s a huge honour for Somerset to have two players on this prestigious list and recognition of the talented players coming through our youth system.

Lewis headLewis Gregory, who was voted the InCider player of the month for April, has had a superb season, despite missing several weeks with a hamstring injury picked up during a televised T20 game.

He has so far taken 37 wickets in just seven matches at an average of 24.13, three times recording his best bowling figures in a match, culminating in 11-122 to lead Somerset to victory away to Northamptonshire last week. Lewis has also made a more than useful 214 runs at an average of 30.57, with a best score of 69 against an international class Yorkshire bowling attack in the opening match of the season.

Having lost the majority of his 2013 season to injury, Craig Overton is having an excellent championship in 2014, with readers of the InCider recognising his form by voting him their player of the month award for June.

During that month, he made his then highest score of 86 in the match against Sussex at Taunton and then got even closer to what would have been his maiden championship century when he made a magnificent 99, including nine fours and two sixes, against Lancashire, also at the County Ground. In between those two innings he recorded match figures of 7 for 150 in the defeat to Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

In all, Craig has hit 306 championship runs so far this year at an average of exactly 34. He has also taken 32 wickets at an average of 28.18, including his first first-class five-wicket haul in the match against Durham at Taunton in May.

The full longlist announced by LV= is: Zafar Ansari (Surrey), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Sam Hain (Warwickshire), Ben Cox (Worcestershire), Adam Riley (Kent), Jason Roy (Surrey), Reece Topley (Essex), Lewis Gregory (Somerset) and Will Tavaré (Gloucestershire).

A panel of five judges including former England captain Mike Gatting and ECB performance director David Parsons will now select five players to form the final shortlist, before voting is opened to the public to decide the 2014 LV=CC Breakthrough Player. Voting will be available on www.lv.com from the beginning of August.

PCA Chairman and Glamorgan captain Mark Wallace will also be on the panel deciding the shortlist. He commented: “The County Championship has had an even greater importance this year with the increased changes in the national team, and the LV= Breakthrough Player award is a great way of recognising those who really made their mark for the first time in the competition this year. There is some amazing young talent on this longlist – it’s going to be a tough call.”

Claire Jeromson, LV= Head of Sponsorship, added: “Our Breakthrough Player award is going strong in its third year. Past winners like Joe Root have gone on to big things in the international game, and this year’s longlist is full of some exciting new talent. It’s also unique in that it allows real county cricket fans to choose and reward the stars of the future.”

Lewis and Craig can be very proud to be recognised in this way. It is a mark of the breakthrough which both of them have made this year. We’d like to congratulate them on this honour and we’re sure all Somerset fans will get behind them in the public vote if they make the final shortlist.