The Champions Trophy was called the ICC Knockout tournament in 1998 and 2000. There have been 7 editions of this prestigious tournament. South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand have won the Champions Trophy title once while Australia have won it twice in 2006 and 2009. India shared the title with Sri Lanka in 2002 and then won it in 2013.
After a hectic Indian Premier League tournament, the Indian Cricket team will be leaving for England today night to defend their Champions Trophy title that they won in 2013 under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Four years later, ViratKohli will be leading the Men in Blue for the first time in major ICC tournament.
Going into the tournament, the biggest problem for India could be that they have played only three one day International matches against England which was played in January.
In 2017 edition of Champions Trophy, Team India has been clubbed with arch rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Before the blockbuster tie against Pakistan on 4th June, they will play 2 warm up matches against New Zealand on 28th and Bangladesh on 30th May respectively. The selectors have gone with experience for this prestigious tournament.
Rohit Sharma will be making a comeback into the Indian team after injuring his groin in October opened the innings in that tournament scoring 177 runs from 5 matches. He proved his match fitness in the recently concluded IPL 10.
Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run scorer in the previous Champions Trophy 2013 with 363 runs also makes a comeback into the team after good Indian Premier League 2017. The third back opener will be Ajiyanka Rahane who has a good technique against good quality bowling.
If the openers can give the Indian team good starts, then the middle order comprising of Virat Kohli who scored 176 runs in 5 matches during the 2013 edition. Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav are explosive players who are capable of smashing the opposition bowlers to all parts of the ground. Dinesh Karthik has been called to the Indian team after an injury to Manish Pandey. He had a great domestic season for Tamil Nadu this year.
Hardik Pandya would be an important member for team India as the conditions in England could help the fast bowlers. He could provide quick runs coming at number 7.
The Indian selectors have gone with 2 spinners in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. R Ashwin did not play the entire IPL 2017 and needs to be at his best during the Champions Trophy 2017. In the 2013 edition, Ravichandran Ashwin took 8 wickets in 5 matches.
Ravindra Jadeja who did not perform according to expectations for Gujarat Lions was the best bowler in 2013 edition with 12 wickets in 5 matches. Both of them played a key role in helping restricting opponent batsmen to score runs easily.
“I might be able to throw something new in this tournament (Champions Trophy), hopefully. I am equipped enough to do so. The two warm-up games (vs New Zealand, vs Bangladesh) will give me an indication on how well I go in the tournament,” Ashwin said on the sidelines of the CEAT Tyres annual awards