Kapil Dev shuns India, backs England for Champions Trophy success
The legendary Indian all-rounder based his prediction on the presence of match-winners like Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.
What’s the story?
Former Indian skipper and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev has cast doubt on India’s ability to retain the ICC Champions Trophy putting his money instead on Eoin Morgan-led England who host the tournament which begins next month.
The 1983-World Cup winning skipper lauded the ruthless approach adopted by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) since their disastrous 2015 ICC World Cup campaign claiming that England now have the players capable of winning matches on their own in the 50-over format.
“For the first time in 40 years, England have given me the impression that they are producing players for one-day cricket. They have a ruthless approach. They have Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes. They can win matches on their own. That’s the sort of team we had...we had Dhoni, Sachin, Yuvraj, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag,” he said.
“If I look at the Indian team on paper, it looks fantastic. My heart says yes but my cricketing brain says no. It looks like India have chances, but again in one-day cricket, you don’t need big names, but a big contribution that very day.”
In case you didn’t know...
England have been criticised for not taking the shorter formats of the game seriously enough – an accusation that has been lent credibility by the fact that the nation where the game was born has not yet been able to win the ODI World Cup since its inception.
The 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand saw them crash out in the group stages itself following a defeat to Bangladesh leading to a change in the ECB’s approach to ODI and T20 cricket. The move seems to have produced the desired results with the side making it to the finals of the 2016 World T20 and according to Kapil, they are one of the top contenders to win the 2017 Champions Trophy.
Considered one of the greatest all-rounders to have ever played the game, Kapil Dev has seen the game develop from Test cricket to One-Day cricket and now T20 cricket. Though he doesn’t fancy T20 leagues around the world like the IPL or the Big Bash League, he is excited about the prospect of seeing the top teams battling against each other at the Champions Trophy as he feels that bilateral series no longer hold any relevance.
While India have done well at recent ICC events, winning the 2011 ODI World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy, he feels that the side lacks the players who have the ability to win matches on their own. However, one side that he feels have done the necessary homework in this regard is England.
With players like Ben Stokes, Jason Roy, Jos Buttler and the skipper Eoin Morgan in their ranks, Kapil feels that they have players who can win matches on their own.
Placed in the same group as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, India will have to play to the best of their abilities to move ahead in the competition which has little room for error. With reigning World T20 champions West Indies missing out on the competition due to the ICC ODI rankings parameter, the tournament has been dubbed as the “Battle of Champions” with the top-eight ranked teams competing against each other.
The warm-up matches begin later this month while the tournament kicks off on June 1 with hosts England taking on Bangladesh at the Kennington Oval.
A legend in his own right, Kapil does make a good point, laying emphasis on the importance of impact players in the shorter formats of the game. England have undergone a sea of change in the way they have set up for ODI and T20 cricket, adopting an aggressive approach under the captaincy of Morgan.
The likes of Buttler and Stokes showed the kind of damage they can inflict on the opposition during the IPL and playing in home conditions, England definitely hold a good chance of winning their first ICC Champions Trophy.