Professional Cricketers' Association announce shortlist for Player of the Year award
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 22/09/16 10:49am
The Professional Cricketers' Association have announced a four-man shortlist for the prestigious NatWest Player of the Year award.
Two County Championship Division One players have been nominated for the award - Warwickshire spinner Jeetan Patel and Durham batsman Keaton Jennings.
Essex all-rounder Graham Napier, playing in his final season before retirement, is one of two Division Two players shortlisted, alongside Northamptonshire opener Ben Duckett, who is also up for the Young Player of the Year award.
Duckett was recently selected for England's upcoming tour of Bangladesh and former Test batsman Mark Ramprakash has backed the youngster to impress at the top level.
"He's only 21 - he's exploded onto the scene. He's always been very talented and has been an England U19 but the volume of runs this year has been outstanding," said Ramprakash, who won the award with Surrey in 2006.
"He's got five hundreds in red ball cricket and has also excelled in one-day cricket. It's his innovative shot making that has marked him out.
"If you can score runs in all formats, that's not an easy thing to do."
Ramprakash was also full of praise for South Africa-born Jennings, who he sees as a future England international batsman.
"He's been outstanding. Seven hundreds opening the batting for Durham, which I always think is a tough gig, especially up north - they don't see too much sun do they?" Ramprakash said.
"He's played well in one-day cricket and bowls a bit as well. He's another player who can adapt - which is very important."
Napier, 36, has helped Essex claim the County Championship Division Two title this season and Ramprakash says it would be a fitting end to the all-rounder's career if he wins the coveted award.
"He's played in a very talented Essex side that have had an excellent season this year. I think that's helped spur him on," said Ramprakash.
"As a bowler it gets physically tougher but he's been pivotal to Essex's success this year. What a story it would be at the end of his 20-year career to win the Player of the Year award."
Ramprakash also hailed the loyalty and commitment of Patel, who has taken almost 100 wickets across all formats in his sixth season with Warwickshire.
"Jeetan is really a shining light in terms of an overseas player. He's hugely committed - he's the first one out in the morning, bowling on the square, practicing skills," he said.
"Bowling spin in modern-day cricket is probably the toughest job. I've got a lot of admiration for what he's done with Warwickshire over a number of years. He's carrying the baton for spin bowling."
Duckett and Lancashire opener Haseeb Hameed have both been nominated for the Young Player of the Year award, alongside Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond and Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran.
Meanwhile, England internationals Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Lauren Winfield have been shortlisted for the Waitrose Women's Player of the Summer award.
The winners of all three awards will be announced on September 28.