Wayne Mardle has taken some time to discuss the PDC world numbers one and two.

As part of a substantial chat with Live Darts, the darting personality touched on the form of Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross. Voltage cropped up in conversation first; Mardle has spotted a paradox in the Englishman’s results.

“It’s an odd one for me because I’ve been close to Rob for the past five or six months.

“I just kept saying to him, ‘you can’t keep playing well and carry on getting beat’,” the former PDC star revealed.

“What was odd about the [World] Matchplay was I didn’t think he played very well.”

The Cross Conundrum

Despite not playing at his best, Cross staged a remarkable comeback against Daryl Gurney before holding off Michael Smith to take the World Matchplay title in Blackpool.

“He got away with it, let’s be fair, against Daryl Gurney. It’s one of those things.

“In the final I thought he played okay, without pulling up trees.

“I still feel the same with Rob, I think he’s playing some of the best darts of anyone out there – but doesn’t win enough.

“I don’t know why he’s not winning as much,” he said.

Shortly after the interview, Cross reached the final of the International Darts Open but was beaten by Gerwyn Price.

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

MVG’s return

“They were starting to say ‘do you know what, he’s becoming easier to beat’.

“And that’s the problem. It’s not the not winning, it’s the way he was playing – it really was poor,” said Mardle on an issue that threatened to ruin Michael van Gerwen’s summer.

The Dutchman went on a run in recent months that was reminiscent of his embryonic PDC career, not the period of dominance for which he is now renowned. A spate of averages well below the 100 mark was a sign of the Dutchman not playing at his best. It meant an early World Matchplay exit at the hands of Glen Durrant – but MVG returned to the winner’s circle with two World Series titles.

“Since then, he’s put that [form] to bed,” said Mardle.

“The thing is with Michael van Gerwen…if he’s not winning 50 per cent of the events he’s going in, it’s seen as a decline.

“There’s so many good players around. But Michael van Gerwen is still the man to beat.

“All I ever want to see is all of the top players playing well, because we’re treating with darting delights there.”

B the best

The Sky pundit diagnosed van Gerwen’s issue as a lack of competitive B-game. The three-time world champion has proved himself unbeatable when at his free-flowing peak, but doubts have crept in over his ability to grind out wins when the A-game isn’t there. Mardle pointed out that criticism aimed at van Gerwen is fairly justified.

“Michael van Gerwen hasn’t played to a 95 average since 2012. His tournament average is just below 100, the best of anyone out there.

“But it’s not what he does. It’s dropped. So people are right to say he’s not playing as well as he was.

“He’s not playing to the consistent brilliance that we know he can do. When he’s off, he’s easily beatable.

“James Wade’s B-game is [indicates a small amount] away from his A-game. Michael van Gerwen’s B-game is beatable.”

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

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Author: Ed McCosh