Nominees for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2023 announced

A member of the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year 2022, Travis Head soared even higher in 2023

Nominees for ICC Men’s Cricketer of the Year 2023 announced PHOTO: AFP

Four players stood out with their exceptional performances in 2023, and have been nominated for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy.

Travis Head (Australia)

1698 runs in 31 matches

The year that was

A member of the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year 2022, Travis Head soared even higher in 2023. It wasn’t a year without challenges, for the Southpaw had to contend with a fractured hand that threatened to rule him out of the World Cup.

Not only did the player stage a comeback during the tournament but also rendered crucial performances at the pointed end of the World Cup. Both his ODI tons in 2023 came in the global event, and he was the Player of the Match for his inimitable performances in the semi-final and the final.

329 out of his 570 ODI runs came in the World Cup. His strike rate during the tournament was an impressive 127.51, only slightly below his run in the year (133.17).

Head also enjoyed tremendous success in other formats of the game. This included a prolific Test run, during which he helped Australia lift the ICC World Test Championship 2023 trophy. In the WTC final against India, Head was the top-scorer with a 163 in the first innings. His knock helped Australia to a dominant score, and an eventual 209 run win.

His 919 Test runs in 2023 came at an average close to 42.

These emphatic performances make him one of the two Australian players in the run to win the first Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for their nation since 2015.

Virat Kohli (India)

2048 runs in 35 matches

The year that was

After returning to form in style with his exploits in the second half of 2022, Virat Kohli continued churning out runs across the Test and ODI formats.

In Test cricket, he hit an important 44 against Australia in the second Test of the 2023 Border-Gavaskar Series in trying circumstances in Delhi, which helped India post a solid total in the first innings of a game they went on to win. In the final game of the same series, Kohli hit a majestic 186 at the Narendra Modi Stadium. This was his first Test ton since 2019. It didn’t take him much time to add to that number, hitting a 121 against the West Indies.Stadium. This was his first Test ton since 2019. It didn’t take him much time to add to that number, hitting a 121 against the West Indies.

It was in the ODI format that the batter shined though, smashing several records. He hit six ODI hundreds, finishing with 50 tons in the format. This helped him become the player with the most ODI hundreds, overtaking India legend Sachin Tendulkar in the process.

His stupendous run in the World Cup, helped India reach the finals. The batter hit 765 runs, the most by any player in any single edition of the World Cup.

If he’s successful, this will be Kohli’s third Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, the most for any player.

Ravindra Jadeja (India)

613 runs and 66 wickets in 35 matches

The year that was

A knee injury in the 2022 Asia Cup forced Ravindra Jadeja to miss India’s initial cricketing engagements of 2023. However, the left-arm spinners returned in style. He picked 22 wickets in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and played an important role in India winning the series.

It was a brilliant year in red-ball cricket for Jadeja. He chipped in with crucial contributions with the bat. These included a resilient 70 in the first Test against Australia Nagpur that helped India to a massive lead, an attacking 48 in adverse circumstances in the WTC Final at The Oval, and a couple of feisty knocks in the West Indies. With the ball, he formed a valuable partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin, excelling across conditions. He picked four wickets in the WTC final, being especially effective in the second innings.

With 31 ODI wickets, Jadeja shined in white-ball cricket too. He picked 16 wickets at 24.87 in the World Cup, with a career-best performance of 5/33 against South Africa at the Eden Gardens.

Pat Cummins (Australia)

422 runs and 59 wickets in 24 matches

The year that was

Pat Cummins had a truly remarkable 2023, excelling as a player and winning several accolades as captain.

After an early low of losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Cummins’ Australia lifted themselves and garnered important milestones. It began with a vehement win over India in the WTC final at The Oval, followed by a successful Ashes defence in England, and ended with a splendid comeback in the World Cup. After losing the first two games, Australia won nine on a trot to lift the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup for a record sixth time.As a player, Cummins showed all-round form in the Test arena. He continued playing a crucial role in Australia’s pace attack, while also upping the ante with the bat when required. This showed in the opening Ashes Test in Birmingham. Despite going wicketless in the first innings, he contributed with a sturdy 38 to lessen the English advantage to merely 10 runs.

Cummins then picked four wickets to ensure that Australia’s ask was under 300. And when the tourists were in trouble at 192/6 and then 229/8, Cummins played a fighting knock to win Australia a rivetting Test.

In the ODIs, he played several crucial knocks lower down the order, while also making crucial breakthroughs in his economic spells.

Cummins signed off a remarkable year with his second ten-wicket haul in Test cricket. This helped Australia win the Test series against Pakistan.