It is said that in a big tournament home advantage is always the biggest benefit to have as a playing team. This is borne out by the fact that India nailed its second 50 over world cup in India, playing just the tournament opener in Dhaka. England too will be looking to make the most of this factor when it plays its first match of the 2013 Champions Trophy. In spite of its fantastic performance in test cricket in the last few years and commendable performance in the other forms of the game the only silverware at the disposal of England is the 2010 T20 World Cup. It is presumable that they will like to add to that tally.
The question that comes to the mind is does England have what it takes to land the tournament and go home as the last ever champion of the Champions Trophy? Let’s take a look at their squad:
Alastair Cook, Johnny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.
The first question that comes to my mind is why there could be no place for Luke Wright and Jade Dernbach. Dernbach has been one of England’s best limited over bowlers but it seems that the new limited overs coach, Ashley Giles, has preferred the steadfast Woakes over Dernbach’s variety and pace. Luke Wright has also been ignored rather surprisingly in favor of Ravi Bopara who has not exactly been setting the Thames alight in county cricket of late.
The possible logic could be that Bopara has been rewarded as he chose to ignore the riches offered by the IPL and stayed back to play domestic cricket while Wright opted to play in the IPL. They may as well have omitted Eoin Morgan in the same logic as well but couldn’t do so since he is the best finisher in the middle order. All this smacks a little bit of double standards if you ask me!
Coming to team analysis the team’s strength is clearly its batting with guys like Cook, Trott, Bell, Root and Morgan manning the line-up. They will be ably backed up by Bairstow who is likely to take the gloves as well. They should also have adequate support from the explosive Jos Buttler and the reliable Bopara. However, Kevin Pietersen would be sorely missed and with him in the first eleven England could have surely claimed to have the best batting line up in the tournament.
The bowling looks steady without being threatening. Much will depend on Anderson and Swann with Broad, Finn and Bresnan likely to provide seam bowling support. It remains to be seen if Woakes and Tredwell actually get a game or not. The extra pace of Meaker may be missed as well.
All in all it’s hard to predict whether England will win the championship or not but they may go all the way.