ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Preview: India, Australia Favourites For Top Honours
While many sides are looking good, India and Australia top the odds-on favourites charts.
The ICC Champions Trophy 20017 sees the return of the national colours as the biggest names in the business drop their franchise colours and assemble under the country's flag. While India and Australia are being pegged as the two likeliest to meet in the final, there will be teams like hosts England who will have a lot to say about that. As of now, these three teams look the likeliest to be top picks, since the others do not look consistent enough.
Hosts England will kick-start the tourney against Bangladesh in London on Thursday before the much-awaited rivalry between India and Pakistan on June 4.
However, the two teams that will enjoy maximum traction are surely going to be India and Australia in a tournament where one can expect high-scoring matches on good batting tracks.
Both teams have a fantastic blend of youth and experience, a must for 50-over cricket.
Ironically, both have been in the news for reasons which aren't exactly cricketing to say the least.
While a rumoured rift between Indian captain Virat Kohli and chief coach Anil Kumble has been gaining ground since the past few days, the Australian team's payment dispute with their cricket board is out in the public domain.
Both teams will be starting their respective campaigns in such an uncomfortable backdrop, but they have quality players in their ranks, who will not let the controversies affect their game.
The Indian team has not displayed any signs of stress during their two warm-up matches which they won without breaking any sweat.
At the same time, Australia also came up with lively performances in their respective warm-up games.
The team to watch out for could be England, which has made giant strides under Eoin Morgan's captaincy.
While England, India and Australia remain firm contenders for the semi-final slot, South Africa cannot be discounted either.
However, the eternal chokers tag is something that would always be an issue for the Proteas considering their dismal record at ICC events.
Pakistan are an unpredictable team which has talent that often doesn't translate into performance. But Sarfraz Ahmed's side has the ability to do well.
New Zealand, the eternal bridesmaids of international cricket, will bank on their skipper Kane Williamson for inspiration.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are two sides, which as of now don't look like being in contention for a semi-final berth with not much quality to counter the English conditions.