How will India go in ICC Champions Trophy?

By Kersi Meher-Homji

After a lot of political maneuvering between ICC and BCCI, India has decided to participate in the 50-overs ICC Champions Trophy in England starting on 1 June.

India is the current holder of the Champions Trophy having defeated England by five runs in the final at Birmingham, England. So India has a happy memory of the ground when they tackle arch-rivals Pakistan on 4 June for their first match.

India is in Group B along with Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Australia, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh are in Group A. The once mighty West Indies did not qualify to participate.

After the match against Pakistan, India will meet Sri Lanka at The Oval on 8 June and South Africa on the same venue on 11 June. The semi-finals are on 14 and 16 June and the Final on the 18th.

India squad: Virat Kohli (capt), MS Dhoni (WK), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Manish Pande, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.

The selection is a good mixture of attacking batsmen, quick and spin bowlers and two all-rounders in Jadeja and Yuvraj Singh. But in my opinion classy batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and in-form bat Lokesh Pujara were unfortunate to miss out.

For Australia the shock exclusion of Usman Khawaja continues.

The previous winners of ICC Champions Trophy are:

South Africa in Bangladesh in 1998-99, New Zealand in Kenya in 2000-01, India and Sri-Lanka joint winners (due to bad weather) in Sri Lanka in 2002-03, the West Indies in England in 2004, Australia in India in 2006-07, Australia in South Africa in 2009-10 and India in England in 2013.

Although Chris Gayle of West Indies has scored most runs in Champions Trophy, 791 runs at 52.73 (highest score 133 not out) in 17 matches, India’s Sourav Ganguly has the best batting average, 73.88 (665 runs, highest score 141 not out) in 13 matches.

Will India lift the Trophy for the second time in a row?



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