Not only did Virat Kohli score runs when needed but he also defied age-related norms and executed his skills at peak fitness.
2023 was a year of resurgence for Virat Kohli who outdid himself with his batting prowess. Having punched below weight for a couple of seasons prior to that, the Indian talisman returned to his absolute best and capitalized on the "comeback" he charted in 2022.
Scoring as many as 1377 runs through the year at an average of 72.47, Virat Kohli belted six centuries and 12 fifties in his pursuit. More importantly, it is the manner in which he scored that becomes the highlight, as he powered past his own idol Sachin Tendulkar for his 50th ODI ton.
Fittingly, Kohli is among the four nominees for the 'ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year (2023)' award, which also includes fellow countrymen Shubman Gill and Mohammed Shami, and New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell.
Each of the contenders has merited a spot based on some incredible performances, particularly in the ICC Men's World Cup 2023 which saw them rise to the occasion with great flair.
For Shubman Gill, it was a coming-of-age year, so to speak, as he began the year with a stellar ODI double hundred against New Zealand. He would go on to score 1584 runs in 2023 at an average of 63.36. In CWC 2023, he scored 354 runs including an 80 (not out) in the semis against New Zealand.
Mohammed Shami did what he does best - spring a huge surprise on everyone who doubted his abilities. His 2023 may not have begun on a great note but the fast bowler was at his absolute best during the ODI World Cup, in which he picked up 24 wickets (most in the tournament) at a stellar average of 10.7!
Coming to Daryl Mitchell, the Kiwi batter has often been under the radar but delivered at his best every time his nation needed him to. The semifinal game in Mumbai against India alone, wherein he belted a superb hundred in the tall chase, is enough to prove just how potent he is on the world stage.
Mitchell has also chipped in with the ball in hand with 9 scalps this year and 1204 runs with the bat to his name.
So, who is the probable winner of this elite list? Well, each one's worthy in their respective rights but in hindsight, the year perhaps belongs to Virat Kohli? That could be the fan in me talking but even objectively, the 35-year-old has revealed yet another dimension to his game this past year and enabled India to be a massive force to reckon with.
Not only did Virat Kohli score runs when needed but he also defied age-related norms and executed his skills at peak fitness. His intensity was unparalleled throughout and though one would have wished to see him posing with the elusive World Cup trophy, the year, nevertheless, will be bookmarked by his sheer talent, grit and tenacity.