The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is around the corner. The top eight nations will participate in the tournament starting from June 1 to June 18. Despite the huge madness over T20 cricket, ICC Champions Trophy has not lost the charm. The competition between the teams can be a cracker. It is also known as ‘Mini-world cup’. Sentiments will remain high when India will play against Pakistan on June 4. The top-ranked eight teams have been divided into two groups: Group A features Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh. While Group B features defending champions India along with South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan. Here is a look at the complete squads which have been announced by the respective teams.
India who is the defending champions will lock horns with Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham. India has everything this time, there are talent, experience, and confidence. Former Indian captain Kapil Dev believes Virat Kohli who was out of form in IPL will bounce back into form in the upcoming tournament.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed Pakistan will lead Pakistan and they will play their first match with India of the Champions Trophy on June 4 in Birmingham, England. As per reports, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq has stated that Pakistan’s target in the upcoming tournament is not only to beat India but also to win the coveted trophy. Shoaib Malik will be playing in his sixth consecutive Champions Trophy.
3. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka will be one of the first teams to arrive in England. They will play their first match against defending champions India at The Oval on June 8. Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and hosts England are in the other group.
The luck favored Bangladesh as they replaced the West Indies, who finished outside the top eight in the ICC ODI Team Rankings on the cut-off date. This is for the first time Bangladesh returned to the ICC Champions Trophy since 2006. It is also for the first time, West Indies could not be able to play in the Champions Trophy.
Steve Smith will lead an Australian side loaded with talented and new players. Fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, James Pattinson and John Hastings have all been included in the 15-man squad. However, the pay dispute with some players can become a distraction for Australia at Champions Trophy.
The hosts will play their first match against Bangladesh on June 1 at the Oval, London. England is considered as the favorites. They have never won the trophy (after seven attempts), despite being close on the last two occasions. This time the team has called up fit-again Mark Wood after being sidelined for several months following a third ankle operation. With potential key performers like Ben Stokes, Jos Butler, and Chris Woakes, England may give a surprise for the country.
7. New Zealand
The Blackcaps won the tournament when they beat India in 2000 final – when it was known as the ICC Knock-Out Trophy. This year the team is looking to claim the trophy 17 years after their first and only success. New Zealand will play against Australia on June 2 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
8. South Africa
AB de Villiers will lead South Africa cricket team and they are ready to shed their tag as perennial chokers in big events. South Africa won the inaugural ICC tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1998 when it was known as the ICC Knock-Out Trophy. Proteas kick off their ICC Champions Trophy campaign against Sri Lanka on June 3 at The Oval in London.