Tom Bailey voted PCA Player of the Month for April
Lancashire seamer pips Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball to award
Last Updated: 03/05/18 1:20pm
Lancashire seam bowler Tom Bailey is "chuffed" to have been voted April's Professional Cricketers' Association's Player of the Month after winning a tight public vote.
The 27-year-old was up against Nottinghamshire's Jake Ball, Ryan Higgins of Gloucestershire and Kent's Matt Henry in the voting due to ending April as the top four players in county cricket, according to the PCA Most Valuable Player Rankings.
Bailey secured 40 per cent of the vote with Ball in second place after 36 per cent of supporters thought he was the star performer in a close vote to champion the best performing players across the opening month of the season.
After taking eight wickets in his opening two Specsavers County Championship fixtures of the season, it was Bailey's third performance of the season which catapulted the opening bowler into the top four of the overall MVP. Bailey hit a career best 66 runs batting at No 10, before taking four wickets in the first innings against Surrey to help force the follow on.
He backed his performance with the ball up in the second innings in the pursuit of Lancashire's first victory of the season. However, it was not to be as time ran out for the hosts despite Bailey's four wickets in an amazingly economical 19 overs with the Preston-born bowler only being hit for 12 runs.
Perhaps more impressive, the 27-year-old removed each of the top six batsmen across both innings which helped him win the Man of the Match award.
Bowlers gain more ranking points if they take wickets of top order batsmen and similarly, runs gain more points if they are scored quickly or in low-scoring contests.
Looking back on a strong start to the season on a personal level, Bailey gave his reaction after winning the poll on the PCA website as well as the Sky Sports digital platforms.
"I'm chuffed," said Bailey. "Winning this award is a first for me and I feel like I've been bowling pretty well to be honest. I was up against some good names who have started the season really well so it's a big honour to receive April's Player of the Month award.
"Hopefully I can win another one or two this year. To be honest I feel like I've been bowling well for last few years but injuries have halted me getting in the team consistently. I have had an injury free start to the season and I've had the opportunity which has been massive for me. I really want to play a full season of first team cricket in all the formats."
It was not just Bailey's performance with the ball which won the plaudits, his 118-run partnership with Joe Mennie pushed his county to 439-9 declared which was a highlight for the Player of the Month, and he is aiming to gain his first victory of the season against Somerset.
"The pressure was off as I went into bat with a decent total on the board so it allowed me and Joe to have a bit of fun. I enjoyed it very much.
"We haven't won a game yet so it would've been nice to have had a couple of wins under our belt but I think the way we are playing I think that first win will be coming in the near future.
"The way we played against Surrey we were unlucky so with Somerset this week there's every chance of picking up that first win.
"Jimmy Anderson is back this week and everyone knows what he can do. Having him in the team is only going to help us so I'm looking forward to that. Somebody will be unlucky to miss out but to have competition for places is a great thing to have."
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