Virat Kohli or Mohammed Shami? Who should be the Player of the Tournament in ICC World Cup 2023?

Virat Kohli’s stellar performance in the ICC World Cup 2023 has been nothing short of historic. Scoring 711 runs in just 10 matches with a commanding average of over 101 and a strike rate nudging 90 is a testament to his prowess. His three 100s and five 50s make him the leading run-scorer of the tournament.

He has also eclipsed Sachin Tendulkar’s 2003 record for the most runs in a single World Cup edition. As the final looms, Kohli has the stage set to further his tally. But, King Kohli’s influence in this tournament is far beyond the runs he has scored.

Virat Kohli has been the stabilising factor in India’s fierce batting line-up, which is in spectacular form. His 85 against Australia, 55* against Afghanistan, 103* against Bangladesh and 95 against New Zealand further proved his prowess as a chasing master. He was the sheet anchor for India’s batting when the Men in Blue batted first. His 88 against Sri Lanka, 101* against South Africa, 51 against the Dutch and 117 in the semi-final are nothing short of a dream run.

Mohammed Shami, leading India’s bowling attack, has carved his name at the summit of the wicket-takers’ list with 23 scalps in just six matches. He went wicketless against the Netherlands, an exceptional match for him to say the least.

Shami took 5/54 against New Zealand in Dharamshala, 4/22 against England in Lucknow, 5/18 against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, 2/18 against South African in Kolkata and 7/57 in the semi-final against the Kiwis in Mumbai. Who knows what could have happened if he played all 10 matches for India in this tournament!

Whenever Rohit Sharma turned to Shami, the “Silent Storm” gave India the breakthrough it desperately needed. Until Dharamshala, New Zealand were a force to reckon with. India bundled out the Black Caps for 274, thanks to Shami. He was instrumental in India’s 100-run win against England and 302-run win against Lanka.

When India looked dangerously clueless against Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell in the semi-final, Mohammed Shami broke the 181-run partnership and brought India back on track. He eventually annihilated New Zealand’s batting by claiming 7 wickets.

Kohli vs Shami: Who should be the Player of the Tournament?

Note this: 7 of the highest wicket-takers of the past 12 World Cups have been part of the winning squad. Only twice has the leading run-scorer been from the champion team. This time, India have both, at least for now.

Without taking anything away from the mastery of Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami’s abridged fairy tale in the ICC World Cup 2023 should make him the Player of the Tournament. The impact of his performances has been legendary. He has looked to make a difference with every ball bowled.

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Updated: 16 Nov 2023, 10:14 AM IST

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