West Indies cricket legend Brian Lara on Friday said that England will go all the way and lift the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on home soil. The tournament which starts on June 1 will not be see the West Indies participate as they failed to qualify for the event by not finishing in top eight in the ICC ODI rankings. Lara, who led his country to Champions Trophy glory in 2004, said that the triumph in 2004 was one of the "high points" of his career. England are in Group A, which also consists of Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh while defending champions India are in Group B along with South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Talking about the prestigious event, Lara said, "I understand that this year's tournament is going to be bigger and better than ever, so it's going to be an awesome experience for the fans and us former cricketers to see who is going to lift the trophy."
"The ICC Champions Trophy was always one of the high points of my career, especially playing in the final at The Oval in 2004."
The West Indian legend said that England are his firm favourites because of the home conditions.
"I think in these conditions, England will be my firm favourites. After losing out to the West Indies in the World T20, you look at the team now and they have some exciting players."
"England, in the past, would have maybe an Ian Botham or a (Andrew) Flintoff, but now you can look at the entire team and it's very one-day cricket oriented.
"Today, you look at the England team and you've got players playing in the IPL, and players who are astonishing with both the bat and ball."
England will kick off their Champions Trophy against Bangladesh at The Oval, hoping to make amends for their 2013 campaign in which they lost out to India in the final by five runs.
Former England batsman Jonathan Trott was a member of that squad who just missed out on success at Edgbaston, but, like Lara, is confident the 2017 team can right the wrongs of years gone by.
"It would have been so nice to have won the final in 2013, I still have a few nightmares about that, but hopefully this team can go all the way," he said.
"I remember there being such a great vibe in 2013. The English crowds are so loud and can be intimidating.
"England have got the home advantage and they can use that, but there are some good teams around the world in great form, so it's going to be a really interesting competition.
"England have been playing some really good cricket both home and away, but I don't necessarily think there's much pressure on them.
"There's perhaps a feeling that it's about time to win a one-day tournament, which would be very nice, and they have been going well in the T20 competition as well. They'll be going into the Champions Trophy with some good form and some good momentum," he added.
(With PTI Inputs)