London: Former Australia batsman Michael Hussey feels underdogs Pakistan peaked at the right time and played their best cricket in the final against India to lift the ICC Champions Trophy.
"Pakistan was the underdog coming into the final but there was a feeling of destiny about it. Tournament play is all about peaking at the right time and after a poor start to the tournament, most pundits gave it no chance of winning," Hussey wrote in his column for ICC.
"However, by the time it lifted the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 at The Oval, it was undoubtedly playing its best cricket. Huge congratulations need to go to Mickey Arthur, Sarfraz Ahmed, the support staff and players for showing great character and turning the team's fortunes around."
Hussey also lavished praise on India's batting and bowling.
"India has a batting order that every team would be envious of, with Shikhar Dhawan's love affair of batting in England continuing, but it also has a somewhat unheralded bowling attack that has been very effective," he wrote.
"Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah form a great combination who complement each other very well, and the spin options of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja keep the pressure on in the middle overs. There is a nice blend of youth and experience in this Indian team."
With top teams such as South Africa and Australia knocked out early, Hussey said it showed the level of competition among the major sides.
"...top teams in the world are very close and anyone can be beaten on a given day. This was shown with Pakistan, which came into the tournament ranked eighth and went all the way through to win the final," he said.
"Its bowling attack was brilliant with Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan contributing well throughout the tournament but the emergence of a couple of newer players in Hasan Ali and Fakhar Zaman, who scored a brilliant century in the final, is exciting for the future for Pakistan."
Hussey said England might emerge as one of the favourites at the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.
"England has shown plenty of improvement in the last two years and should come into the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 as one of the favourites," he wrote.
"The fearless brand of cricket it is playing is exciting to watch and it have some real quality in the squad that should only get better in the future. Ben Stokes has emerged as one of, if not, the best all-rounders in the world."
Speculation is rife that it could be the last edition of the Champions Trophy as there is a proposal to scrap the tournament and hold the World Twenty20 every two years besides hosting a Test Championship final every four years.
These proposals will come up for discussions this week at ICC's Annual General Meeting in London.
Hussey feels this edition of the Champions Trophy should end the debate about the future of ODI cricket.
"This Champions Trophy was an excellent tournament with some high quality one-day cricket played that has created plenty of interest around the world. I feel that a tournament like this should end the debate about the future of ODI cricket.
"This is a fantastic form of the game ... I believe as long as the matches have context, then there is a place for all three forms of the game to survive and thrive in the future," he wrote....