Virat Kohli defeats global icon to win prestigious award

Indian cricketer Virat Kohli was named Pubity’s Athlete of the Year 2023, beating Argentine football legend Lionel Messi in the process. The popular fan poll included several noteworthy names in the sporting fraternity and, in the end, it was Kohli who was handed the crown for his excellent run of form.

It was a memorable year for Virat Kohli, which marked his return to form after a few dry years, where he went nearly 1,000 days without an international century. The year began with a century against Sri Lanka for the former Indian captain and it ended with a half-century in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.

Although he was on the losing side of two ICC finals against Australia, he amassed eight centuries across all formats, also going past Sachin Tendulkar’s long-standing record of most centuries in ODI cricket. 

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Kohli scored 3,613 runs across all formats at an average of 60.31. While he maintained decent form in T20Is and Tests, his primary focus was on the ODI format with an eye on the cricket’s most coveted prize. Unfortunately for the 35-year-old, he missed out on that silverware with Australia beating India in the final in Ahmedabad. 

Kohli mustered a record-breaking 765 runs in 11 matches, which included four centuries and five half-centuries. His four centuries in the tournament came against Bangladesh, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. The ton against Kiwis in the semi-final made him the first cricketer in ODI history to hit 50 centuries and eventually, he was named Player of the Tournament as well. 

Virat Kohli is also a strong contender for multiple sporting accolades, including the ICC Garfield Sobers Trophy, which is given to the best player of the year across all formats. He won the trophy twice before, in 2017 and 2018. 

Virat Kohli wins big award

Virat Kohli
Photo by Icon sport

Some other major names in the sporting fraternity came close to winning this title. Max Verstappen, Novak Djokovic, Lionel Messi and Kohli were shortlisted as the final four before the title was set to be decided between Messi and Kohli. 

Verstappen, the three-time F1 World Champion, had yet another dominating season on the racing circuit. The Red Bull driver won 19 races in 2023 to be crowned world champion yet again and has now won three successive world titles.

Tennis legend Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, won three of the four grand slams in 2023. His After winning the Australia Open, Djokovic won the Roland Garros for the third time in his career and became the first player to win all the slams a minimum of three times. He lost to youngster Carlos Alcarez in the Wimbledon final but bounced back to win the US Open and took his overall tally to 24. 

Lionel Messi ended 2022 with a World Cup trophy and continued his exploits with Inter Miami in the USA. He has scored 11 goals in 14 appearances and was at the top of his game for Argentina as well, scoring eight times in eight matches. 


A strong believer in the fact that Kohli and Paes are the greatest Indian superstars!