ICC Champions Trophy: Pakistan is the team to beat!

While other teams were busy in the cash-rich IPL, Misbah’s side had the best possible preparation for the major...

Fawad Hussain May 21, 2013
In the coming days, Misbahul Haq’s men will be up against some of the world’s best ODI teams at the ICC Champions Trophy (CT) in England.

It will be the seventh and last edition of the tournament as the ICC has decided to hold just one event of every format after this competition with the World Cup serving the purpose for ODIs.

The top eight world class teams, including world champions India, South Africa, West Indies, Australia, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand along with Pakistan will vie for the honour starting June 6.

Our team, which has never won this tournament, appears to be the favourite to win the title for a number of reasons.

While top cricketers from other teams are busy in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) that is far from the essence of one-day cricket, Misbah’s side had the best possible preparation for the major event.

Some might even say the inability to participate in the IPL has been a blessing in disguise for Pakistan since after the tough tour of South Africa, all members of the team participated in the President’s Cup One-Day tournament for their respective area of expertise, earning valuable match practice for a 50-over format.

Subsequently, the players underwent an specially arranged six-day training camp in Abbottabad where they prepared at an altitude of 4,000 feet and in conditions similar to the ones the team will experience in England.

Apart from solid preparations leading up to the tournament, the team also looks balanced despite the absence of experienced players like Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi.

If the team plays to its potential, Pakistan’s batting, has the likes of rising stars such as Nasir Jamshed and Asad Shafiq besides experienced Misbah, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, who can dismantle any bowling attack.

There are many expectations from Pakistan’s bowling line-up as well, despite the absence of Umar Gul, who is recovering from an injury.

In spite of lacking experienced fast bowlers, Junaid Khan and the terrorising Mohammad Irfan have the ability to stun any opposition in English conditions, while magical spinner Saeed Ajmal has proved himself as a one-man army on many occasions.

Misbah, who is in supreme form, has emerged as a strong captain before the CT and it is expected that the team will improve the quality of their game under his leadership.

However, consistency in batting and improvement in fielding is consistently needed in order to stand a chance to won the trophy.

The post had originally mentioned incorrect dates for the tours. The error is regretted. 

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Fawad Hussain
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