ICC Champions Trophy: England’s past record not relevant, says Kumar Sangakkara
England are one of the favourites for the Champions Trophy 2017, Kumar Sangakkara wrote in his column for ICCUpdated: Jun 06, 2017 14:25 IST
Former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara felt India’s selection for the ICC Champions Trophy was a bit conservative, but backed India as one of the favourites for the title alongside hosts England.
In his column for the International Cricket Council, Sangakkara felt India are a strong contender to lift the Champions Trophy among the four Asian outfits which also include Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“This year we also have four Asian teams in the tournament and clearly India is current the pack-leaders in the region. It won in 2013 and it has a team capable of winning this year too. In fact, the team is arguably stronger, better balanced with real firepower in its fast bowling,” stated Sangakkara in his column.
“Its spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are exceptional in ODI cricket and I am sure Virat Kohli is going to be desperate to bounce-back after a disappointing IPL. The only slight concern I have for India is that its selection was perhaps a little conservative, but it is still very strong,” said Sangakkara about India’s chances at the Champions Trophy.
‘England’s progress a revelation’
Sangakkara felt there are many ‘realistic contenders’ to lift the Champions Trophy this time around. And hosts England are certainly one of them, according to him.
“Its progress in the past two years has been a revelation. It used to trail behind other teams in terms of its strategy and approach, but now it is one of the most progressive teams. It used to be one of the teams that traditionally struggle in big tournaments, but under this set-up – shrewdly overseen by coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace with Andrew Strauss (as) a strong Director of Cricket – its past record is perhaps not relevant (sic),” he stated.
Sangakkara said Sri Lanka’s underdog status could help the team instead. “Sri Lanka is one of the teams which has a proud tradition of performing well in major tournaments and it will be hoping this year to also punch above its weight. The team remains young and inexperienced, and this lowers expectations. This I think will help the side, reducing the pressure and tension, which will allow it to go out there and express themselves,” he said.