MS Dhoni feels consistency will be the key to win the ICC Champions Trophy
India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni stressed that his side’s key to success in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy would be "consistency". The ICC released the schedule for the eight-team ODI tournament which is to be held between 1 to 18 June 2017 in England & Wales. Dhoni, who led India to the title in 2013, said that he was aware of the challenges of the event.
“In the ICC Champions Trophy, it doesn’t matter which other sides are in your group or who your semi-final or final opponent is. You have limited time and the key to success is consistency, and being on top of your game each time you step out on to the field. There is very little room for error," the wicket-keeper batsman told ICC.
“Having won the event in 2013, we know how intense this event can be and we are under no illusion that it will be any different next year,” the 34-year-old added.
India are grouped with neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Group B, along with the 1998 winners (then known as Knockout Trophy) South Africa. India will be facing Pakistan in the opening match which is scheduled to be held on June 4 at Edgbaston. Pakistan hold a 2-1 advantage over their arch-rivals in the history of the tournament.
Group A comprises of the other four teams who qualified for the tournament, namely Australia, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh. World T20 champions West Indies and Zimbabwe, who are also full-time members, have failed to make the cut as the two teams were not among the top eight ODI teams as per the ICC ODI rankings on 30 September, 2015 – which was the cut-off date for the tournament.
Dhoni, who is the first skipper to win all major ICC tournaments, added that the support the team earned from the crowd played an important role in their victorious campaign in 2013.
“I am sure the ICC Champions Trophy, like any other ICC event, will be well organised and the team and I are looking forward to a lot of crowd support, which was one of the factors that helped us across the line in 2013,” he added.
In 2013, India beat Sri Lanka by eight-wickets in a rain-affected match in the semi-final of the tournament at Cardiff, before beating England by five runs at Edgbaston in the final to win their second title.
The ICC had earlier announced that the 2013 Champions Trophy would be the last and that it would be replaced by the ICC Test Championship. However, the decision was reversed and plans for the Test Championship were shelved, with ICC claiming that it could be in place by 2019.