Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson have their hunger back, says Stuart Pyke
"I think playing each other has just reinvigorated their desire for the game. Both matches could have gone either way but for missed doubles"
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 29/08/19 3:58pm
Stuart Pyke and Colin Lloyd expect Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson to be featuring in the latter stages of major events throughout the next 12 months following their recent performances in the World Series.
Pyke was on commentary duty throughout the triple-header Down Under and he believes the pair regained their hunger for the sport following their clashes in Melbourne and Hamilton.
"Where I think it all changed for Michael (van Gerwen) and I think it's the same too for Gary Anderson - when they met in the quarter-finals of the World Series in Melbourne," Pyke told the Darts Show podcast.
"It was a fantastic game - 8-6 to Van Gerwen. Fourteen legs in a little over 15 minutes. It's as if they both came alive again.
"They both found the desire, the hunger and the taste for competitive darts again and they met again a week later in New Zealand, it was 8-5 this time to Van Gerwen.
"I think playing each other has just reinvigorated their desire for the game. Both matches could have gone either way but for missed doubles.
"Van Gerwen got the job done as invariably he does and for me, from winning those two quarter-finals against Anderson, there was only going to be one winner of those two tournaments and that's exactly what happened."
The Dutchman enjoyed a blistering start to 2019 - following up his third World Championship title with success in the Masters and the Premier League.
However, the 30-year-old suffered an early exit at the UK Open, before losing 11-9 to Lakeside champion Glen Durrant in the second round of July's World Matchplay.
Van Gerwen then suffered an early exit against Daryl Gurney in the Perth Masters, although the world No 1 silenced any critics in emphatic fashion to claim back-to-back titles in Melbourne and Hamilton.
'The Green Machine' also went 15 games without posting a ton-plus average prior to breaking his drought in Melbourne, but Lloyd has criticised those who questioned Van Gerwen's future in the game.
"It's amazing the amount of people that jumped on the bandwagon," Lloyd told the Darts Show podcast.
"Is this it for Michael? Of course it wasn't. Everybody has a little blip and he's the kingpin and the master at the moment.
"I think he thought to himself, I'll show you how much I'm finished, I'll win these last two World Series and have a nice little plane ride home.
"I know Michael would have had his hackles up about not having the best of runs of late and he wants to put those wrongs right.
"You'd like to think he's going to kick on. There's some big events coming up and the next major is the World Grand Prix."
Despite the criticism surrounding Van Gerwen's form over recent weeks, the Dutchman has still won three major televised titles in 2019 and Pyke is backing MVG to add to his haul in October.
He said: "You never write off Michael van Gerwen. He hadn't won a tournament since May. He was desperate and he was hungry and he proved that. Everybody goes through a bad patch.
"He was all-conquering at The O2 back in May and I expect him to go to Dublin and win the World Grand Prix in October."
Pyke on MVG....
"Don't forget he's the world champ. He won the Masters, he won the Premier League. He was all-conquering at The O2 back in May and I expect him to go to Dublin and win the World Grand Prix in October."
Pyke also believes there are positive signs for Gary Anderson ahead of a huge second half of the season.
'The Flying Scotsman' has endured an injury-plagued campaign to date, but the two-time world champion showed signs of a resurgence in Australasia, despite suffering three successive quarter-final exits.
"He was smiling afterwards. I was talking to him at Auckland airport before we flew back and he was saying he just loved the competition and he said he's ready," Pyke told Sky Sports.
"He's ready and he's hungry again. He wants to win. That's great to hear. At the start of the year people were saying: 'Are we going to see the Gary Anderson that won two world titles again?'
"I think we're going to see that in spades across the next 12 months."
It's not long to wait until darts is back on Sky Sports, the World Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday, October 6 at Dublin's Citywest Arena and seven days of coverage continues until the final on Saturday, October 12.