Champions Trophy: Another thriller could help oft-threatened tournament survive
The ICC Champions Trophy was not meant to survive to 2017, but another strong tournament could help secure its future.Updated: May 29, 2017 17:27 IST
As England prepare for their ICC Champions Trophy opener with Bangladesh on Thursday, it could be easy to forget this is the tournament that was not supposed to happen. (ICC CHAMPIONS TROPHY FULL COVERAGE)
England’s heart-breaking loss to India in the 2013 final was meant to be the last Champions Trophy match, the competition giving way to a Test Championship play-off.
But the Test Championship play-off was an idea that never came to fruition, the big three cricketing boards of England, India and Australia scrapping it and overturning the ICC event revenue model.
So here we are again, four years on from the last Champions Trophy in England, preparing for another tournament, in England.
And the competition once more finds itself under threat. India’s threatened boycott of the event did not come to pass and they are scheduled to host the tournament in 2021, but the potential advent of a 13-team ODI League in 2019 could yet see the Champions Trophy consigned to history.
However, despite seemingly being in constant danger of being removed from the ICC calendar, there is plenty to appeal in the Champions Trophy.
Though some of the better matches in the last World Cup came from those featuring the associate nations, the attraction to a shorter tournament with the focus purely on the top eight 50-over sides on the planet is obvious.
A West Indies side that typically entertain but often frustrate outside of the demolition derby that is Twenty20 cricket will not be present in England, their absence another sign of that former powerhouse’s drastic modern-day decline.
But, while top-ranked South Africa are missing star seamer Dale Steyn, there is plenty on offer to excite crowds in this year’s competition.
Boycott avoided, India and Virat Kohli – arguably the world’s best batsman in all three formats – will naturally attract plenty of attention.
The likes of David Warner, Chris Lynn, Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell give Australia a potentially destructive edge while the white-ball revolution England have experienced under the guidance of Trevor Bayliss shows no signs of abating.
The 2013 final proved an engrossing and tense spectacle, with a largely pro-Indian crowd greeting their dramatic five-run victory with rapturous celebrations.
With the talent on show at this year’s edition, there is every chance of a similarly enthralling contest being played out again.
And, should that come to pass, then the ICC may again be forced to consider whether potentially ditching the Champions Trophy would be the correct decision.