ICC Champions Trophy – The Four Front-runners

Cricket has moved from a two months long domestic T20 tournament to a major ICC event, within a span of 9 days. But, do the spectators ready for the change is a billion dollar question. Cricket has always been a spectator friendly game and has been created a lot of iconic moments throughout its history. But the emergence of T20 has started questioning the existence of ODI, the historically important format of the game. So with the ICC Champions trophy back into the action, we will discuss on the four front-runners of this years event.

Its easy to predict the four semifinalists tasking out from both the groups. The host and the last edition’s runners, England, The defending Champions India, the usual suspects; Australia and South Africa are the four front-runners for the Championship throne. Not to forget the other four teams are always there to exhibit an upset here and there. But thanks to the predictable nature and demanding consistency of the ODI makes the front-runners’ run-through more clinical.

Champions Trophy 2017


The Flat pitch bullies is the new name for the newly-improved looking English ODI team. With their batting gets deeper down their lineup, they are one of the most important contestant for the throne this year. As a host nation they have the advantage of cognizance on the nature of the conditions around.

Concern: There are some injury concerns in their camp as Stokes and Woakes are still unclear on their availability. But still they have their young bench strength to back up.

England are still not tested by a powerful bowling lineup, is my opinion. And with pitches getting flatter every match, they should be praying not to be tested with a rain affected pitch in some part of the tournament.

Key : Root, Roy, Hales, Morgan,Stokes and Butler.This will be the batting lineup to hardly defend.

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I would say this Indian team is better than any of their own combination of players played before. Promising Young talents combined with experienced match winners is always a champion contestants. They have experience and talents in both batting and bowling. With Kohli desperate to write a new history as a skipper, he will lead the team with more help from his experienced candidates, Dhoni and Yuvraj in the middle order.

Rohit and Dhawan are expected to give solid openings and Jadhav and Pandya will helm the finisher roles. But what’s lined out in this Indian team is, their bowling is as good as their batting. This is a rare scenario which puts India in a great spot of winning the ICC Champions Trophy for the third time.

India Champions 2013
India, the Champions of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013



India has two clear concerns, which they should overcome.

  1. Concern on plenty is always there for a team which has players more than what they really want. Now keeping a bowler like Shami or Bhuvi out will be a tricky task for the captain. It will be interesting to see how Kohli goes with his combo of playing XI. Dinesh Karthik or Yuvi, Pandya or Jaddu, Bhuvi or Shami or Bumrah, the list goes on…
  2. The other notable concern, is India has not played sufficient ODIs through out this year. They have played 3 matches this year. Even though they played their warm-ups incredibly well, their players will be tested on how soon they will be adapting to the entirely different format from the T20s and tests.

Key : Every player in the team adds to the teams key strength. But It will be interesting to see who comes out shining on what day.


What I say earlier about Aussies as one of the Usual Suspect on winning the Championship is clearly understandable and they are the team to beat on any cricketing day. Their ruling reign among the cricketing nations is still evident on ODI, as their are the defending World Champions. Australia’s recent victories has came from their ruthless cricket and the contributions from the entire playing XI. Fast Pacers to Opening Batsmen, they are all contributing.

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Alongside Warner and Steve Smith, there are other power-packed run-scorers in the side; Lynn, Maxwell and Henriques to name some. Their Pace department gets more tighter with the arrival of Pat Cummins. Starc after a rested IPL comes fresh into the team. They are ready to show up, why they are one of the best.

Concern : Their Concern is the group which they are in. Their first match against New Zealand will be the key match, deciding which team will enter the semifinals from their group. England being in prime form will give a hard time if the Aussies faces an upset in their matches against NZ or BAN.

As it is a shorter tournament, there is no time to turn and redirect.

Key : Lynn, Warner, Smith, Cummins, Henriques.. Their players are in great form.

South Africa:

The another suspect, who are the regular show-stealers whenever they play. Will they overcome their choking tagline this time?

ChokeThey have their basics right this time. Openers, De cock and Amla shows the glimpse of Class. ABD, FAF, Duminy and Miller makes the middle order looks world class. Tahir, Rabada and Morne leads the bowling department with much higher confidence. So where could they fail? Lets look into it briefly.

Concern: They will make the semi finals.  And they will be obviously facing a stronger team in the Semis and Finals (if they make it). And now comes the interesting part. What they lack (usually) is the strength of the other champion teams. That Intense belief, which could make any team stronger and tougher.

Key : Their only win in any major event so far is ICC Knock Out Tournament 1998, which was the older version of this Champions Trophy itself. Should give them a hope.

With ICC World Cup 2019, staging in the same hosting country of England in two years, this tournament will be a dry run with much larger purpose.

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