ICC Champions Trophy: Top 5 all-rounders to watch out for in eighth edition
The ICC Champions Trophy, starting in the United Kingdom from June 1, will see the top eight nations fighting for the coveted title. Here’s a look at the five all-rounders who are likely to make a difference at the eighth edition of the 50-over showpieceicc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 23, 2017 22:04 IST
History is proof that all-rounders have found an important place in victorious teams, whether it was Kapil Dev for India in 1983, Imran Khan for Pakistan in 1992 or Yuvraj Singh for India in 2011 – all of them led their respective teams to glory for which their names have now been etched in gold.
Time has come again for these talented athletes who deliver both with bat and ball to perform when the top-eight cricket nations go head-to-head in the ICC Champions Trophy that will be held in England and Wales from June 1 to 18.
Here is a list five all-rounders who are likely to make a difference at the eighth edition of the 50-over showpiece:
1. Ben Stokes
Rs.14.5 crore! That is what every cricket fan remembers when Ben Stokes is mentioned. The England international earlier this year became the most expensive overseas player to be sold at the Indian Player League (IPL) auction, going to Rising Pune Supergiant.
And the New Zealand-born proved his mettle too in the cash-rich Twenty20 league. Apart from his blistering, match-winning century against Gujarat Lions on May Day, he contributed both with the bat and ball, helping RPS reach the final of IPL 2017.
The 25-year-old could be crucial to England’s plans if they wish to be successful in the ICC Champions Trophy.
2. Chris Morris
Chris Morris is one of the most underrated but impactful all-rounders today in international cricket. With the wide range of shots he possesses, some of them completely unorthodox, the South African can be a potent mix with his 140 kph plus bowling in conditions that will likely suit him.
A late bloomer in international cricket, Morris’s bowling variation, especially during death overs, and fearless batting could take South Africa to the business end of the tournament – somewhere the cricket powerhouse has always failed despite having the best of teams, earning themselves the tag of ‘chokers’.
3. Shakib Al Hasan
The fact that Shakib Al Hasan is ranked the No.1 all-rounder in the world by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in all three formats of the game says what the Bangladeshi can do on the cricket field.
Arguably the weakest among the eight teams to play the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, Bangladesh can create ripples in the tournament but possibly not without the help of Shakib, who is undoubedtly the best cricketer to play for the youngest Test playing nation.
However, Shakib will need his teammates to come good, that too in alien conditions of England and Wales. As for Shakib himself, he is one of the smartest in the business as the 30-year-old knows how to increase the tempo with the bat as well as to reduce the run rate with the ball.
4. Chris Woakes
Why Chris Woakes when there is Ben Stokes? Because given the English conditions --- and there is no end to implying how key it would be --- Woakes is much better swing bowler due to the lengths he aims for. Blessed with the height to naturally extract bounce, Woakes showed in the IPL that he is ready to take it to the next level.
And by keeping those crucial thirty-forty run innings coming, England go into the Champions Trophy knowing there is another allrounder in their ranks who can win the match from as low a position as No.8.
5. Corey Anderson
Many thought fame and the instant money of IPL had gone to Corey Anderson’s head but the well-built New Zealand all-rounder has shown he is no one-season wonder. Once known for hitting the fastest ODI hundred (off 36 balls) against West Indies on New Year’s Day 2014, Anderson has come around as a more hardworking all-rounder.
Not only does Anderson possess more patience, as the IPL has shown this year, he seems to be a much better bet with the ball. And New Zealand will need him to fire on all cylinders if they are aiming to break their 17-year ICC title drought this Champions Trophy.
First Published: May 23, 2017 12:14 IST