The player with the highest number of votes will receive the LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player Award trophy, and LV= will donate £1,000 to a grassroots cricket initiative of their choice.
Zafar Ansari came through the Surrey youth system as a left-arm spinning all-rounder, before his cricket career took a back seat to a degree at Cambridge. Cricket became his chosen path though, and his full-time focus on the game in the 2014 season has seen some impressive results. A maiden first-class century against Derbyshire in June, followed by a five-wicket haul against Leicestershire in the following game, marked him out as a key talent. He has also played for England at U15, U17 and U19 level.
Plymouth-born all-rounder Lewis Gregory started his career in the Minor Counties Championship for Devon, before breaking into the one-day squads in Somerset. 2013 saw him play more first-class cricket in the West Country, and his performances have kept on improving in 2014, with career-best figures of 11-122 against Northants in July. The match took his tally to an impressive 37 wickets in seven Championship games.
Form: Opening batsman
Alex Lees has been singled out by fellow Yorkshireman Geoffrey Boycott as "the whole package", and Lees certainly emulates Boycott’s love of 'digging in'. After becoming the youngest Yorkshire player to score a Championship double hundred last season, he has regularly filled the opening spot in the county’s LV=CC campaign in 2014. A century in his first match with the England Lions in their February tour to Sri Lanka will also have put him on the radar for future international honours.
Form: Off-spin bowler
Adam Riley is a 22-year-old off-spinner who is already being touted as a potential replacement for Graeme Swann. Last season he was the second spinner in the Kent side behind James Tredwell, but he exploded onto the scene in 2014 with over 30 wickets in the season so far. With Tredwell on loan at Sussex, Riley has had the opportunity to shine as the sole spinner for his county. Established cricketing names such as Andrew Strauss and Angus Fraser have shown interest in the young man from Kent, boding well for international ambitions.
Form: Middle order batsman
Like Ansari, Jason Roy is a product of the Surrey youth system, having represented the county since U11 level. His quick-scoring style made him shine initially in limited-overs cricket, before he broke into regular four-day appearances for Surrey. Solid scores throughout this season’s County Championship including centuries against Gloucestershire and Hampshire, and regular knocks in the 70s and 80s, have cemented him as one of the country’s up and coming middle order batsmen.