The 8th edition of the ICC Champions Trophy is all set to get under way from 1st June - 18th June. The tournament will be played across England and Wales. The last time it was played, a Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Indian side put up a flawless display, beating the hosts England in a rain curtailed game to win their 2nd ICC champions trophy. This victory over England in 2013 made Dhoni the first ever captain to have won all the 3 ICC tournaments; a record which will take an Herculean effort for any captain to overhaul. This year though, the team will be led by a flamboyant Virat Kohli.
The Champions Trophy has more often than not been a successful outing for the men in blue. The Asian giants have reached the finals on three occasions, winning the coveted trophy twice(shared winners with Sri Lanka in 2002/03). Let’s glance on a few numbers.
Indian team Stats in Champions Trophy
INDIA IN THE CHAMPIONS TROPHY (1998-2013)
MATCHES PLAYED 24,WON 15, LOST 6, N/R 3.
Matches WON: 15
Matches LOST: 6
N/R : 3
HIGHEST TOTAL:331/7at CARDIFF, courtesy a brilliant hundred from Shikhar Dhawan(114) in 2013.
MOST RUNS: Sourav Ganguly, 665 in 13 games at 73.88.
MOST WICKETS: Zaheer Khan, 15 wickets in 9 matches at 24.53.
BEST BOWLING IN AN INNINGS: Ravindra Jadeja (5/36) against WEST INDIES at THE OVAL in 2013.
BEST BATTING PERFORMANCE: Sourav Ganguly 141* against SOUTH AFRICA at NAIROBI in 2000.
The Defending Champions Have Their Work Cut Out !!
Dhoni after winning the T20I world cup in 2007 and the 50 over world cup in 2011 had his eyes fixed on adding the champions trophy to his impressive cabinet. The team didn’t let the Jharkhan marauder down. Shikhar Dhawan piled up 363 runs in 5 games at an average of 90.75 and Ravindra Jadeja, with his guile perplexed the batsmen picking up 12 wickets at 12.83. The former was declared the player of the series while the latter won the golden ball for his stellar performances, eventually helping the team win it’s second title. Can Virat Kohli and troops successfully defend the crown or will the home side turn the tables this year?
VIRAT KOHLI: If Virat Kohli is coming in at number 3, the opposition’s in for a long day. Arguably the best batsman in the limited over format, this right handed batsman from Delhi has got the technique, the temperament and a cool head to tackle, dominate rather, the best attacks in the world. In Odis Kohli’s statistics go ballistic. An average of above 53, a strike of 90.76 and to top these numbers, 27 centuries. India have lost only 4 matches when Kohli has scored a century. A Tendulkar-esque stat. But how does he fair in seaming conditions.
Kohli in England
Kohli in England
Well, the numbers in England aren’t anywhere close to his career digits, but here is a pugnacious number 3 who’s got a liking to accumulate a plethora of runs.
Kohli As Captain
Kohli As captain
The baton has been passed on from one of the best captains the game has seen to one of the best in the making. The numbers are a clear indication. The best positive is his approach. Kohli is known for his attacking style of cricket and with some pretty handy inputs from the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni, Kohli is force to reckon with not only as a batsman but also as a captain.
JASPRIT BUMRAH: There are hardly a handful or probably only a couple of pacers in world cricket at the present moment who come close to matching Jasprit Bumrah. Probably Mitchell Starc. Bumrah might be tottering at number 48 in the ICC rankings for bowlers in ODIs but, avid cricket followers know for certain that this lad is one of the best exponents with the white cherry in hand.
BUMRAH IN ODIs: MATCHES 11, WICKETS 22, AVERAGE 21.68, ECONOMY 4.89, BEST 4/22
Bumrah’s antics in the Indian Premier League won his team the title. He also holds the record for most T20I wickets in a calendar year. While the format can be sidelined, his ability to bowl toe crushing yorkers at will and vary his pace with not much change in his action make him a formidable weapon in the Indian arsenal.
The Indian squad looks one of the most sorted out squads heading into the Champions Trophy. KL Rahul who had suffered a shoulder injury in the test series against Australia hasn’t regained full fitness. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma will be the top 2 for the men in blue. Virat Kohli at one drop is a foregone conclusion. Yuvraj at number 4, Jadhav and Dhoni will make the top 6. Hardik Pandya has been a regular in the Indian squad. Pandya has delivered with the new ball and also has the ability to strike some lusty blows. We have the magical duo of Ashwin and Jadeja at number 8 and 9. Jadeja did struggle to find his touch in the Indian Premier League, but his ability to contain batsman and
We have the magical duo of Ashwin and Jadeja at number 8 and 9. Jadeja did struggle to find his touch in the Indian Premier League, but his ability to contain batsman and fox them with his guile can prove to be profitable. Ashwin after recovering from a sports hernia will make it to the playing 11 after a couple of months. The dextrous Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and the wily Bumrah seem a perfect combination. The team has all departments well covered and there isn’t any shortage of variety or class.
Team India ranks number 3 in the ICC ranking for teams in ODIs and are favorites to clinch the trophy for the third time. To defend the title in an ICC event is a tough ask but with quality match winners in their ranks a triumphant title defence is assuredly on the cards.