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A best XI of the Champions Trophy 2017

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Champions_Trophy_Best_11_CricketA few years ago, the Champions Trophy was about to die a sad death. But after a great tournament in England, in 2013, and an exciting tournament right now in 2017, with quite a few upsets and good matches filling the cards, the Champions Trophy is here to stay. With this edition one of the most unexpected tournaments there have been, let’s go about compiling a fantasy XI of the best performers from this year’s ICC Champions Trophy.

I’m going in with 4 batsmen + Wicketkeeper + 2 All Rounders + 4 Bowlers. If you have any suggestions, please do comment.

THE OPENERS:

TAMIM IQBAL (BANGLADESH)

He was named one of the four best performers over the English summer of 2011 by the Wisden Almanack and subsequently named the best Test cricketer of 2011. Six years later, Tamim Iqbal has come a long way, especially in the shorter format of the game. Flourishing in conditions which traditionally have never been the favourite of subcontinental batsmen, Iqbal has shown immense class while going about with his innings. His performance against neighbours India was finely crafted, though to be fair, he could’ve done much better. With 293 runs from 4 innings, he has given the Bangladeshis a great start upfront.

SHIKHAR DHAWAN (INDIA)

More often than not, Shikhar Dhawan is criticised for his technique and foot movement; specifically, his lack of it. Even his staunchest of supporters have raised questions about his stroke play. But over the course of the past few weeks, he has quashed his critics with ease. Just like the previous edition, where he topped the run charts, yet again England has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the Delhiite. With 338 runs from 5 innings and a solid average in the upper sixties, Dhawan has yet again had a great tournament in Old Blighty.

THE MIDDLE ORDER:

VIRAT KOHLI (INDIA)

Well, who else could it be? Quite possibly the MVP of ODI cricket right now and a complete class act with the blade, Virat Kohli has the world on his blade. Kohli has been in belligerent touch, just like always. Aside from a duck against the Lankans and being dismissed by some Mohammad Amir magic in the finals, Kohli scored crucial, unbeaten fifties in his other two innings. A 96* against Bangladesh in the semi final was Kohli at his best and he ended the tournament with 258 runs at 129.

JOE ROOT (ENGLAND)

If you were to ask the cricketing gods to name the most consistent batsman in World Cricket right now, it is highly possible that they would name Joe Root. The stylish bat from Yorkshire is as flamboyant as flamboyant gets and his actions with the bat are an exhibition of his supreme abilities. Dismissing bowlers with little trouble, Root has been in stupendous form, with a century against Bangladesh as the highlight of his tournament. In what was yet another successful outing for him, he collected 258 runs in 4 innings.

ALL ROUNDERS:

SHAKIB AL HASAN (BANGLADESH)

Until this generation and the likes of Shakib raised their game, Bangladesh and its cricketers have never been thought of seriously. Even then, it took Shakib becoming the best all-rounder in the world for his critics to stop bashing him. And even as they went about that again, stating that his performances had dipped, he rose to the occasion time and again- most notably against the Kiwis. His hundred helped the Tigers reach a historic semi-final, the first time they achieved it in an ICC Tournament. With his place in the top eleven run getters and a wicket here and there with his economical bowling, Shakib would be a valuable addition to any team.

BEN STOKES (ENGLAND)

The costliest player from this year’s IPL auction, Benjamin Stokes has lived up to his billing in pretty much every jersey he has sported. Quick and athletic on the field, deceptively fast with the ball and explosive with the willow, he is the ideal cricketer. His exploits with both bat and ball have made him the cricketer every side wants and we are no different when it comes to this line-up.

THE WICKETKEEPER:

MS DHONI (INDIA)

I was about to draft in Sarfraz Ahmed but then realised that all this side required was a proper wicketkeeper who wouldn’t drop catches. And who better than MS Dhoni? Other than the fact that he is one of the best captains the game has seen, he is probably the most gifted keeper there ever has been. Lightning quick reflexes and astute knowledge of the game makes him our ideal candidate. Plus, we all know how dangerous he is with the bat, don’t we?

THE BOWLERS:

BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR (INDIA)

Not the quickest. Not the most dangerous bowler in the world. But, if you want a bowler to do the job, he is the man. Be it opening the bowling or the finishing off the final overs, Bhuvi has done the job equally well. For much of his career, he was known as a military-medium pacer who enjoyed prodigious swing. Off late, he has added a few clicks and has enjoyed a lot of success due to his ability to produce yorkers with relative ease. In addition to the yorkers are the different types of slower balls. His batting is just a bonus.

ADIL RASHID (ENGLAND)

With success for a spinner a rarity in this competition, Adil Rashid has stood out. That he is the only spinner in the top 8 wicket takers of the tournament is a testament to the fact that in conditions that have suited the quicks, Rashid has provided something different with his wrist spin. Wrist spinners are match winners and I’ve always tended to choose match winners. There weren’t many spinning options other than Rashid and Imran Tahir. But then, Rashid’s habit of flighting the ball more than Tahir helps and the fact that he has a few First Class centuries doesn’t hurt.

HASAN ALI (PAKISTAN)

Coming out of the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mediocrity yet delivering what it matters. That’s Hasan Ali and pretty much what Pakistan have been over the course of this tournament. In the middle overs this tournament, Hasan has bowled 267 balls; teams have scored 191 runs off him; and he has taken 13 wickets. Amidst the chaos, he provided his team some calm. Neither is he lightning quick nor does he reverse it left, right and center. What he does is get the job done and that’s why he would be a great asset.

JOSH HAZLEWOOD (AUSTRALIA)

Line, length and accuracy. If there are three things that Josh Hazlewood swears by, it’d be those. Have you ever had a friend who kept poking you at a single place again and again until you give in and make a mistake, which is what they want? Well, that’s Hazlewood for you. He isn’t quick like a Brett Lee. He’s more like a Glenn McGrath. His life revolves around the corridor of uncertainty and it is this quality, his ability to consistently trouble batsmen, that makes him such a useful player. And with 9 wickets in spite of 2 washouts, you know how good the lad is.

So. This side has 9 guys who have first class 100s to their name. Not bad. Plus, it is filled with genuine match-winners who, on their day, can single-handedly win games. With 6 bowlers to do the job, completing the overs would not be an issue.

 

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