WORCESTERSHIRE duo Ed Barnard and Pat Brown are on the shortlist for the Professional Cricketers’ Association NatWest Young Player Of The Year award.

All-rounder Barnard and paceman Brown are joined by Surrey duo Sam Curran and Ollie Pope and Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson in being nominated.

The accolade has been voted for by current players with the winner receiving the John Arlott Cup at the 49th PCA Awards night at the Roundhouse, Camden, next Thursday.

Barnard has been recognised as one of the most consistent performers on the county circuit by his fellow players.

The 22-year-old is third in the PCA overall most valuable player rankings and has shown his adaptability across all formats.

He ended the 2018 campaign with 49 wickets and scoring 516 runs in the Specsavers County Championship and also helped Rapids to their Vitality Blast success.

Brown, who last summer helped Worcestershire to promotion in the Championship by playing four of the last five matches, had a season to remember in the 2018 Blast.

He ended as the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 31 victims.

Meanwhile, County head coach Kevin Sharp is targeting an instant return to the top flight after his relegated side lost their final Championship Division One match of the season by seven wickets at home to Yorkshire.

Sharp said: “It is always disappointing when you finish bottom of the table. It’s not what you want. It’s not what you plan for.

“I will say that for much of this season we have competed well. There are a couple of times that we have been blown away.

“On the whole what has happened is when we have got into a position to take advantage in a match there are a number of times when we just haven’t been able to press it home.

“As an example, Yorkshire’s first innings was 220-8 — 120 runs behind — and they finish well in front.

“They are key moments. When we needed to bowl well with the new ball, we probably didn’t bowl as well as we can and we’ve dropped some key catches at key times this year and players have gone on to make big scores.

“I don’t think overall we’ve been outplayed but we haven’t seized the moment enough and that is something we’ve talked about briefly.

“But that’s not for the next few days. It’s for when the lads come back in the winter for us to have a proper debrief. They know and understand.

“It looks at the moment as if next year the divisions are going to turn around so it may well be that three teams are promoted next season.

“I’d want us to be one of those teams.”