The Man of the Match in Cricket: who gets awarded, on the basis of what criteria and who gets to make the decision?

The Man of the Match or the Player of the Match award is one of the most popular recognitions in cricket. The award has become a standard feature of every cricket match, whether a Test Cricket or an ODI match, and the truth is that the Man of the Match first appeared in cricket and it was later adopted by other sports. 

Being named the Man of the Match is significant for every player in cricket. In fact, it receives so much attention that it generally gets to be top news in the world of sports and also it is one of the most popular betting markets offered by cricket betting apps. This means a lot, especially since cricket betting follows the popularity of cricket as a game. 

The Man of the Match is more than a title or an award. It is a sense of achievement and fulfillment coming from an outstanding performance given by cricket players. 

Interestingly, though, the Man of the Match is not necessarily the top player of the match according to rigid performance metrics and objective measures. Too often we get to see the Man of the Match being awarded to players who don’t have the highest scores or to players whose team has not won the match. 

If this is so? What are the criteria for the Man of the Match in cricket and who gets to decide the player that will be given the award?

First things first. Who gets to be the Man of the Match?

In most cases, the Man of the Match award goes to batters. This is so because it is usually the batters who give outstanding performances and who get the crowds cheering and standing up their seats.

It is their performance that usually stuns the audiences, without saying that bowlers don’t have a role to play in the enthusiasm and excitement over watching a cricket game. But the batsmen get all the attention. 

For that manner, a batsman who scores a century will be much more cheered and much more appreciated by the crowd compared to a bowler’s five-wicket haul. Following this, the batsman’s contribution will be considered more valuable than the bowler’s contribution to the final result of the match. 

Although this is not a standard thing in cricket, you will notice that it happens too often and in most cases, it is the batter who is named Man of the Match. 

Here we should be clear, that while we use the ‘Man of the Match’ terminology, it is also women who get to win the Player of the Match award, especially as female cricket is becoming more and more popular in the past few years, following women’s success in other sports as well (just as it happens with women in football, basketball, etc.)

Now, going to the other question – how is the Man of the Match decided? – Let’s take a look at the criteria for the award. 

There is no formal set of criteria for the Player of the Match. Usually, the award goes to a player of the team that wins, but this is not the rule. The Man of the Match is the player who has contributed to their team’s triumph or generally the team’s stunning performance. 

But this does not necessarily mean that the awarded player is in the winning team. He might be on the losing team, but with his contribution, the team has been led to an exceptional game. There are many examples of players receiving the award, without being on the winning side. 

So, if there are no standard criteria, who gets to decide who will be the Man of the Match? Let’s see who has a say in this. 

Well, the primary direct “stakeholders” in a cricket match, besides the players themselves, are the fans, the umpires and referees, and the commentators. 

The fans play a role in indicating who the Man of the Match should be, but their role in determining where the award will go is somewhat limited. They can vote but they can’t actually point out the winner. 

The umpires and referees don’t get to be much involved in the Man of the Match, as their responsibility is mainly to make sure that everything on the field goes as it should go. 

The commentators, on the other hand, have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to pinpoint the Man of the Match. The commentators, who are usually former cricketers or who have a generally deep understanding of the sport, are the ones who get to decide which player deserves to be awarded the Man of the Match title.