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by Sandeep Shivam Wednesday 24 May 2017
England will be among of the front-runners to clinch the ICC Champions Trophy this year after vastly improving their outfit in the limited overs format under skipper Eoin Morgan.
Since January 2016, the team has won 17 out of the 26 games played while losing just seven. This also includes series wins over Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Ireland and Bangladesh but on what would have been a perfect record for Morgan's men was spoiled by defeats against South Africa and India, who are likely to challenge England again in the upcoming tournament.
The change in intent as stressed by Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss and skipper Morgan has been the major turnaround for the England team that went on to reach the final of the ICC World T20 tournament in India where they lost to West Indies in finals. With the likes of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Morgan himself, the team boasts one of the strongest batting line-up in the tournament that comes up with familiar conditions as well.
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With no Stuart Broad and James Anderson in their limited overs set-up, the likes of David Willey, Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett have done a tremendous job while they will be delighted to see Durham fast bowler Mark Wood returning back from a series of foot injuries. It will be interesting to see if the team management might go with both Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali or prefer the leg-spinner alone along with part-time option of Root as seen during the series against Ireland.
In the seven editions previously, England have reached finals on both the occasions when they hosted the tournament in 2004 and 2013 before losing them to West Indies and India respectively. If they manage to go past the line this time, it will be their maiden ICC Champions Trophy title.
Ben Stokes - Hard to look anyone beyond the Durham all-rounder. A genuine match-winner with both bat and the ball, Stokes lived up to his expectation of a hefty price tag in the Indian Premier League 2017 where he was named Most Valuable Player and was instrumental in helping his team reach the play-off stages for the first time, clearly indicating he won't be weighed down by pressure and expectation. If he fires, England are sure to go a distance in the tournament.
England will have a luxury of playing a stiff ODI series against South Africa before they head into the mega event. They are placed in Group A which also has Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh.
1st June v Bangladesh at Kennington Oval6th June v New Zealand at Sophia Gardens10th June v Australia at Edgbaston
Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wk), Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
© Cricket World 2017