What’s the story?
The chief endeavour of the Champions Trophy was to hold a prestige 50-over tournament and also to raise funds for ICC in the sidelines. The 2017 edition of the tournament has all the components required for the same with four formidable sides and the four sides capable of causing upsets.
The former Australian Skipper, Ian Chappell voiced his take on the upcoming Champions Trophy and he expects India, England, Australia and South to make it to the knockout stages.
“The four really strong squads are hosts England, defending champions India and perennial competitors Australia and South Africa,” opined Chappell
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The tournament is slightly on the edge due to the nervousness caused by the recent tragedy in Manchester. This diabolical act is bound to affect both players and fans.
The Champions Trophy 2017 will be hosted in England and Wales, whilst India will be entering the tournament as the defending Champions.
The heart of the Matter
The four powerful sides to make it to the semis are most likely the defending champs India, hosts England, Australia and South Africa.
Chappell feels that the Men in Blue will do well in the tournament after having played a cluster of T20 games in the IPL, which on its own may turn out to be good preparation and to their benefit, Kohli’s men have a couple of warm-up games lined up to get their mind fully attuned to the longer format
India bat deep with some intimidating names in their line-up, but might not have pace such as that of the other three top fast bowling sides. However, there is no doubt that they possess a well-balanced attack equipped to take wickets in any condition.
The Australians are currently entangled in the troublesome pay dispute with their board, Cricket Australia (CA). Nevertheless, the dispute has served only to unite the players, opined Chappell and also added that the skipper Steve Smith indicated that winning the Champions Trophy would help the players in their negotiations with CA.
Talking about England cricket, the former Australian skipper stated that ever since England hit rock-bottom with an early exit in the 2015 World Cup, England’s 50-over cricket has only been on an ascending trend. The look to be at the top of their game at the right time and playing the tournament on their home turf will most certainly give them the upper hand. But, the tournament favourites must ensure they do not succumb to stage fright in front of their hopeful home crowd.
Chappell further went on to add that England have never won a major 50-over title and the upcoming Champions Trophy is a great opportunity to erase glitch, keeping in mind their powerful batting line-up and a strong pace attack.
Ian then spoke about South Africa (SA) as the fourth powerhouse team in contention for the title and even without the injured Dale Steyn, they own what may be called a daunting pace attack. SA’s batting line-up speaks for itself with the names including AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock et al. However, SA are a team yet to overcome the Knockout stage hoodoo that dogs them in tournaments.
The 73-year-old feels a deep-seated orthodoxy, particularly surrounding their tactics in the field, has hurt South Africa in the past on many occasions and will need to discard that approach to win this tournament.
While the winner might probably be from those four sides, he shed light on teams like Pakistan and New Zealand, sides that the four powerhouses cannot take lightly. As always both these teams look solid but lack the match-winners in their squads.
On the other hand, both Sri Lanka and an improving Bangladesh will be competitive but won’t win enough matches to qualify for the semis, opined Chappell.
India’s first warm-up match will be against New Zealand on 28th May, Sunday followed by the second warm-up game against Bangladesh on the 30th of May and the Champions Trophy will commence on the 1st of June.
In the lights of the tragic events that took place in Manchester, the players will be affected but some players will cope better than others and the ones who will fare the best are the ones can prevail over the anxieties and focus only on cricket while they are on the field.
Chappell’s prediction is established on the stats and performances of the teams in the recent past and there are all reasons to believe that the Trophy will be lifted by one of the four powerhouses listed.Published 28 May 2017, 14:56 IST