What’s the story?
Ahead of the much-awaited ICC Champions Trophy 2017, India’s batting star, Ajinkya Rahane had a tête-à-tête with the BCCI TV where he sounded convinced that the Indian team will be able to defend the Champions Trophy title, provided the players play to their potential.
"It (Champions Trophy) will be a great challenge. Each and every team has a great combination but if we can play to our potential, I am sure we will do well," Rahane told BCCI.TV after team's practice session at the Lord's ground on Saturday.
In case you didn’t know...
India won the previous edition of the Champions Trophy back in 2013. The team dominated the tournament as they won every game they played to clinch the trophy.
Rahane had a decent IPL 2017 for the Rising Pune Supergiant. The team finished the league stage as runners-up and Rahane scored an aggregate of 382 runs in 16 matches.
The heart of the matter
The calm, composed and gritty Rahane has been in fine form in recent times. He might not have clocked big knocks lately but provides flexibility and stability to India’s batting order.
The right-handed batsman is convinced about the squad’s capabilities and feels they have a healthy chance of retaining the title. He also mentioned that the mood in the dressing room has been buoyant after what was a fine practice session at the ‘Mecca of Cricket’.
India’s squad on paper is without doubt better than the 2013 CT squad. Although, most of the players are similar, the difference being that they are now a more experienced side accompanied with the perfect balance of batsman, all-rounders and bowlers.
The Champions Trophy takes the centre-stage from June 1st, in England and Wales. India will be taking on arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening game on the 4th of June.
Prior to their square-off against Pakistan, the Men in Blue have a couple of warm-up games against New Zealand and Bangladesh on 28th and 30th of May respectively.
The most promising factors of India’s squad are the variety of players they have at their disposal and with Rahane, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, the middle order is extremely bankable which will give the openers ample amount of confidence to play their shots freely.
Also, with Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav and perennial members Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja, the skipper has plenty of all-rounders. All these together make India a formidable side and they surely are one of the major contenders for the title.