Will An Indian Be Best Player Of ODI World Cup? Check Out The Contenders
Ahmedabad: Defending champions England and beaten finalists New Zealand had set the ball rolling in the ICC World Cup 2023 at Narendra Modi Stadium here on October 5.
Just over six weeks later, we are a day away from the grand finale at this spectacular venue where a capacity crowd of nearly 1.3 lakh people will assemble to cheer for red-hot Team India.
Can the men in blue win their 11th successive match to emerge unbeaten champions? Or will Australia silence the massive crowd to lift the World Cup for the sixth time?
The other question doing the rounds is: who will be declared the Player of the Tournament?
Going by the all-conquering performance of their batters and bowlers in the marathon league phase as well as in the semifinal, it won’t be a surprise if an Indian player receives the coveted ‘best player’ award.
Such a probability was greatly enhanced after the International Cricket Council (ICC) named 4 Indian cricketers in a list of 9 contenders for the Player of the Tournament award.
Skipper Rohit Sharma, prolific run-getter Virat Kohli, wicket-taking machine Mohammed Shami and the crafty Jasprit Bumrah are in the running for the top award.
The others are – Aussies Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell, New Zealanders Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell, and South African Quinton de Kock.
THE CONTENDERS AT A GLANCE
Virat Kohli: He’s made the 2023 World Cup his own with a consistency that is unmatched. The top run-getter in any single edition of a World Cup, Kohli became the first batter to cross 700 runs. He has scored 3 centuries and 5 fifties in 10 innings so far, first equalling legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of 49 ODI hundreds and reaching 50 tons.
Adam Zampa: A key member of Australia’s T20 World Cup 2021 triumph in the UAE, the leg-spinner has again put his hand up on the big stage. He went wicketless in Australia’s campaign opener against India, but thereafter found his mojo to be places 2nd in the wicket-takers list with 22 scalps, three successive four-wicket hauls against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Netherlands.
Quinton de Kock: South Africa’s wicketkeeper-batsman broke many a record by smashing 4 centuries in the 2023 edition, stopping just 1 short of Rohit Sharma’s record set in 2019. The left-handed opener aggregated 591 runs before failing in the last 2 games to lose out in the race to be on top scorer in the tournament.
Mohammed Shami: He scripted the biggest fairytale of 2023 World Cup by emerging from the shadows to be the most lethal bowler. Kept out of the XI in the first 4 games, Shami shone in every game thereafter to sit atop bowling charts with 23 wickets, including three five-wicket hauls. He became the first Indian to bag 7 wickets in a World Cup game.
The 24-year-old New Zealand allrounder made a huge impact in his debut World Cup. Not sure of a place in the starting XI, Ravindra made the most of his opportunity in the absence of regular skipper Kane Williamson in the first few games. A century against champions England in the first game was followed by two more three-figure knocks and 2 fifties. He can lay claim to be the top allrounder with a tally of 578 runs and 5 wickets.
Nicknamed ‘Mad Max’, the hard-hitting Australian batsman and part-time off-spinner etched his name among the greats with an epic unbeaten 201 against Afghanistan, batting on one leg for most of the innings. From 91/7, he helped Australia chase down 292 almost singlehandedly. He has tallied 398 runs and taken 5 wickets till the final.
Rohit Sharma: If ever a captain led from the front, look no farther than the Indian skipper. After failing to score in the first match, Rohit has given Team India a flying start in almost every game in the first power play. With one century and three half-centuries, Rohit has 550 runs in the tournament. Besides his power-packed batsmanship at the top of the order, Rohit’s inspiring captaincy has also benefited India.
Jasprit Bumrah: India’s premier fast bowler has had just one off day in 10 games so far in World Cup 2023. ‘Boom Boom’ has been a threat to every batting line-up with his accuracy, late swing, yorkers and pace variation – at every stage of the innings. His economy rate of 3.98 runs an overs shows how difficult he’s to get away, and he has picked up 18 wickets as well.
Daryl Mitchell: The top-order New Zealand batsman is perhaps the most improved batter in the world in the last one year or so. Ravindra apart, Mitchell has carried the Kiwi innings with an aggregate of 552 runs, including 2 centuries. His brilliant 134 in the semifinal gave India their biggest scare despite the home team amassing a total of 397/4.