What’s the story?
West Indian great Brian Lara has picked England as his favourites to win the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy that will get underway in few days’ time. He pointed out that the entire team is very ODI cricket oriented unlike the past where they had a handful cricketers who flourished in the format like Sir Ian Botham and Freddie Flintoff and after losing the 2016 World T20 finals, the Poms have found some exciting players.
“The ICC Champions Trophy was always one of the high points of my career, especially playing in the final at The Oval in 2004. I understand that this year's tournament is going to be bigger and better than ever, so it's going to be an awesome experience for the fans and us former cricketers to see who is going to lift the trophy. I think in these conditions, England will be my firm favourites. After losing out to the West Indies in the World T20, you look at the team now and they have some exciting players. England, in the past, would have maybe an Ian Botham or an (Andrew) Flintoff, but now you can look at the entire team and it's very one-day cricket oriented,” Lara said.
In case you didn’t know...
The 2017 edition of the ICC Champions Trophy is set to get underway on June 1 with the hosts England taking on Bangladesh in the first match of the tournament. India go into the tournament as the defending champions while England will look to win their first ICC ODI tournament.
England have one of the best squads going into the tournament with the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes expected to make a big difference. Lara, himself a Champions Trophy winner in 2004, will know what it takes for a team to go all the way in the tournament. Since the end of 2015 World Cup, England started to give more importance to this format and it won’ t be a big surprise if they win the title.
Parallels from history
Ahead of the tournament, former cricketers are picking their favourites to win the tournament. Most of them have picked either the defending champions India or England as the favourites to win the title. Earlier this week, former Aussie batsman Mike Hussey revealed that he is expecting an England-Australia final while Pakistan’ s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq made a bold statement by saying that his team can go all the way to glory in the tournament.
As mentioned above, England are one of the strongest team going into the tournament and with them being the host team, it won’t be a surprise if they go all the way and win their first ICC ODI tournament. However, at the same time, there are teams like India, South Africa and Australia that should be underestimated given the firepower they have in their team.Published 27 May 2017, 10:59 IST