The eighth edition of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at England is on the final leg of the tournament as defending champions India will be up against their arch rivals Pakistan in the summit clash for the coveted trophy.
With millions of emotions and a golden opportunity to be termed as the champions of this iconic tournament at stake, the match is undoubtedly a clash that will have many implications beyond the cricket field.
The prestigious tournament has produced many inspiring tales of success in the past, and this edition was no different as one of the most improved teams in the international circuit, Bangladesh scripted their way into the final four stage of the competition.
The eight edition of the contest has been a perfect example of the marvel of cricket played on the international circuit and exemplified by fiercely contested battles between players of the modern era. Ever since its inception in the year 1998, the tournament has witnessed some of the greats of the sport featuring on a number of occasions to battle it out for their side.
Take a look at the five players who made the most appearances in the Champions Trophy.
#5 Shoaib Malik
The right-handed batsman has been one of the most dependable middle order batsman for the Pakistan unit. With years of international experience and uncanny style of play, Malik has time and again bailed his side out of pressure situations.
The 35-year-old has been part of the Pakistan squad for the Champions Trophy since the year 2002 till date. Although he has not been able to perform to his fullest in the competition – scoring 368 runs in the 19 matches he’s played so far with an average of 25. His most memorable knock came in 2009 when a match-winning hundred helped Pakistan defeat India in Centurion.
The eighth edition of the tournament has not been a fruitful one for Mallik as he has struggled with the bat and managed to register just 42 runs in the three innings.
#4 Rahul Dravid
The Wall of Indian Cricket has been one of the most prolific performers for the team since his debut and has been an integral part of the journey of the Indian cricket for well over a decade. The fourth highest run scorer in the longest format of the game, Dravid’s success with the bat is an example of his sheer hard work and determination to strive for the betterment of his game and the hunger to win matches for the nation.
The former skipper of the Indian team has been part of the Champions Trophy since 1998, featuring in 19 games. Dravid has scored 627 runs in these matches at an average of 48. Although he never notched up a three-figure score in this iconic tournament, Dravid was solid at the top of the order for India and would often launch a stable platform for the middle order.
#3 Sanath Jayasuriya
The dynamic left-handed opening batsman changed the approach adopted by the teams in the initial overs of the shorter format in the game. Along with Romesh Kaluwitharana and later with Marva Attapattu, he formed a devastating pair at the top of the order. The opening combinations for the Sri Lankan cricket dominated the world arena as they were at their aggressive best within the first fifteen overs.
Jayasuriya has been a vital cog in the history of Sri Lankan cricket and has contributed with several match-winning performances for the team and was part of the Lankan squad for the Champions Trophy from the year 1998 to 2009.
In the 20 matches, he appeared in, the southpaw scored 536 runs at an average of 29.7 including a match-winning hundred against Pakistan in the year 2002.
#2 Kumar Sangakkara
The elegant left-handed batsman is currently in the form of his life after notching up 100 centuries in all formats of the game. After having retired from international cricket, Sangakkara has been busy playing country cricket in England.
The 39-year-old was an integral part of the batting unit for the Sri Lankan team ever since his debut for the country. Sangakkara has featured in 22 Champions Trophy matches for the Lankans with 683 runs at an average of 38.
He registered his highest score of the tournament against the home team, England in the last edition of the tournament after smashing an unbeaten 134 runs to ensure a win for his side.
#1 Mahela Jayawardene
The former skipper of the Sri Lankan team is fondly remembered for his great hundred in the finals of the ICC World Cup in 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium. One of the pillars in the batting line up for the Lankans, Jayawardene has been their most prolific performer with the bat throughout the editions of the Champions Trophy.
In 22 matches, he scored 742 runs at an average of 41 with his highest score being an unbeaten knock of 84 runs. The flamboyant right-handed batsman has five half-centuries to his name across the Champions Trophies that he has appeared in..
Post his retirement from the international arena; he was at the helm of affairs as the head coach of the Mumbai Indians and successfully guided the team to their third Indian Premier League title earlier this year.