Virat Kohli named ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year

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DUBAI: India’s stalwart batter Virat Kohli was crowned as the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2023 on Thursday. He was in contention with his compatriots Shubman Gill, Mohammed Shami and New Zealand batter Daryl Mitchell.

Kohli brought his best out in the ODI World Cup amassing a record tally of 765 runs in the tournament, with his contributions playing a major part in India’s run to the final. Overall, Kohli scored 1,377 runs, claimed 1 wicket and completed 12 catches in 27 matches.

After bouncing back in 2022, Kohli peaked in the ODI World Cup and surpassed the record for most runs scored by a batter in the tournament which was held by batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.

The experienced right-handed batter finished the tournament with an average of 95.62 and a strike rate of 90.31, scoring three centuries, one of which came in the semi-final against New Zealand.

His ton against the Kiwis in the semi-final took his overall ODI centuries to 50, going past the previous record holder (Sachin Tendulkar) for most centuries in the 50-over format. In the final four stage, Kohli walked out to bat after skipper Rohit Sharma’s dismissal to face a star-studded Blackcaps bowling line-up.

Kohli found his grove immediately and was flawless till he completed his 50th ODI ton to surpass one of the legends of the game – Sachin. “It’s stuff of dreams, Anushka was sitting right there, Sachin paaji was there in the stands”, Kohli said later while being interviewed during the innings break.

Kohli’s picture-perfect knock ensured India didn’t suffer another heartbreak at the hands of New Zealand like they did four years back in England. His 117 combined with Shreyas Iyer’s 105 paved the way for India to reach a mammoth total of 397/4.

Mohammed Shami’s seven-wicket haul ensured India went unbeaten into the finals to face Australia. (ANI)

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