ICC Champions Trophy: Players to watch out for
As the ICC Champions Trophy commences on June 1, here are some of the big players who can make a big impact in the eight-nation ICC event. (Photo: AP / AFP / BCCI)
Yuvraj Singh made his debut in the second Champions Trophy in 2000. He played it again in 2002 when India won, 2004, and 2006 then missed the rest for one reason or another. Yuvraj was dropped from the ODI team in 2013 on form, but his hunger for the game and a successful domestic season brought him back into the team this year. In the second match of his comeback in January, he scored 150 against England at Cuttack with 21 fours and three sixes. It was his first ODI century in almost six years. Now he's helping to prop India's middle order alongside captain Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and offering a little left-arm spin on the side. (Photo: BCCI)
England has batsmen with better averages, better techniques, and better reliability, but as a crowd-pleaser, it's hard to look beyond Jos Buttler. Buttler, who doubles as a wicketkeeper, has England's three fastest ODI centuries, the best coming off 46 balls against Pakistan in Dubai in 2015 which is joint-seventh in the all-time list. There might not be a player better in the last 10 overs of an innings than Buttler, who remains composed even in the toughest of scenarios and doesn't need to play himself in before unloading his box of tricks. With Buttler around, there will be no such thing as a lost cause for England in the Champions Trophy. (Photo: AP)
Shoaib Malik will be playing in his 6th Champions Trophy, and embraces his senior role in the side. He feels he can help other batsmen like Babar Azam and Umar Akmal realize their potential. He made his Pakistan debut in 1999, has appeared in the middle order in 247 ODIs, and scored 6,711 runs at a healthy strike rate of 81.65. In the Champions Trophy, he has scored 326 runs and taken 10 wickets in 15 appearances. In the absence of the retired Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, Malik is happy to shoulder the responsibility of making runs. (Photo: AFP)
Quinton de Kock played baseball before he turned to cricket, but the switch was a good one for South Africa. By the age of 24, De Kock already has 12 ODI centuries, 12 half-centuries, over 3,000 ODI runs and collects them at a fierce strike rate of 95.42. He also has the third-highest score by a South African in ODIs, a 178 off 113 balls against Australia in September. Despite a fairly small stature and boyish looks, he can make boundary-hitting look effortless, as the baby-faced left-hander did when he crushed Australia's bowling attack for that 178. (Photo: AFP)
Shakib Al Hasan, the world's leading all-rounder in ODIs, is revered in Bangladesh.
The left-handed batsman is fast approaching 5,000 runs in ODIs, second highest in Bangladesh history, and his left-arm spin has claimed more than 200 wickets.
"His presence ... just lifts the confidence in the entire dressing room," captain Mashrafe Mortaza said. (Photo: AP)
When Mitchell McClenaghan was picked by New Zealand in April, he tweeted a Terminator-like picture and comment: "Nice to be back." McClenaghan was selected without having played international cricket in 15 months. After helping the Black Caps reach the World Twenty20 semifinals in March 2016, the left-arm quick suffered a stress fracture in his hip. That and an ankle injury forced him to miss the entire New Zealand summer. He proved himself again in IPL 2017. He can be expensive, but when he was injured in the playoffs, and missed the Mumbai Indians' triumph, he was the team's leading wicket-taker with 19. (Photo: AP)
Moises Henriques owed his unexpected selection for Australia as much for coming into form as his rivals' own was declining. Henriques was picked ahead of batsmen such as Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, George Bailey, and allrounder James Faulkner.
The Portuguese-born Henriques has been a fringe player for the national squad, playing only eight ODIs from his debut in 2009 to his last match in August. The allrounder has tallied 46 runs at an average of 6.5 and his medium pace has claimed six wickets at an average of 40.
And yet he was chosen on form, domestically, and in the Indian Premier League, where he averaged 46 with the bat in 11 innings, and took one wicket. (Photo: AFP)
Lasith Malinga's fitness will be tested more than his proven bowling skills with the white ball at the Champions Trophy. Sri Lanka has gambled with the fast bowler, who is returning to ODIs for the first time since November 2015. Malinga needs nine wickets to reach 300 ODI wickets, and bowling coach Alan Donald feels if he can bowl even seven or eight overs then he'll make a huge impact. In one of the most memorable spells at the Champions Trophy, Malinga's 4-34 nearly pulled off victory against New Zealand in 2013 while chasing a small target of 138 runs. This is his fourth Champions Trophy. (Photo: AP)