The Champions Trophy – what’s it all about? The tournament explained.
Wasn’t the Champions Trophy due to be canned after the last edition in 2013?
That was the plan. Before the start of the previous Champions Trophy in 2013, also held in the UK, the ICC announced the tournament was to be the last, making way for the new Test Championship in an already-packed calendar. After that proposed competition was ditched in January 2014, the ICC decided to continue with the Champions Trophy every four years, midway between the World Cup cycle.
How come the West Indies aren’t in this year’s competition?
The Champions Trophy is contested between the top eight sides in ODI cricket as per the rankings six months prior to the tournament. At the cut-off date for qualification the West Indies had dropped out of the top eight spots, with Bangladesh and Pakistan, ranked seventh and eighth respectively, edging the World T20 champions out.
Which countries have got form in the Champions Trophy?
Australia are the only team to have won the competition outright twice, winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2009, although India won it outright in 2013 and shared the 2002 title with Sri Lanka after the final was washed out in Colombo – not the tournament’s finest moment. Wins by South Africa, in 1998, and New Zealand, in 2000, represent both those countries’ only global ICC tournament success, while England will be hoping to end their long wait for a major 50-over trophy.
They’ve come close though in previous tournaments?
England reached the final on both previous occasions they hosted the Champions Trophy, in 2004 and 2013. In both instances they probably should have won. Last time out, at Edgbaston in June 2013, rain reduced the final to a 20-over contest in which India won by five runs after England blew it when they required 20 runs from 15 deliveries with six wickets in hand.
Any surprises in the squad announcements so far?
Steven Finn didn’t make the cut for England, with Jake Ball and Mark Wood picked ahead of him. James Faulkner, Man of the Match in the World Cup final in 2015, misses out, with Australia selecting the fit-again Mitchell Starc. The left-arm quick looks set to feature alongside Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson, as Australia prepare to unleash a much- vaunted four-man pace attack. Lasith Malinga is selected in Sri Lanka’s 15-man squad despite not playing an ODI for 18 months due to long-standing injuries. Dale Steyn’s failure to recover from shoulder surgery means he will play no part.
Where are the matches being played?
The games are split between three venues: the Oval, Edgbaston and Cardiff, with the former hosting the final on Sunday June 18.
The big question: who’s going to win the thing?
England are the bookies’ favourites, with Australia close behind. South Africa, perennial under-achievers in world tournaments, currently top the world rankings and will field a strong squad, while you can never write off India. In short: it’s wide open.
Who’s your money on? Comment below.