The Champions Trophy 2017 has had a fairy tale story. A lot was written and said about it before its commencement and a lot has been written and said about it after its completion, but most of it has been contrary. That simply defines what a journey this short tournament has been; “Expect the Unexpected” probably sums up the story of Champions Trophy. But this twist has certainly reawakened ODI cricket’s spirit and shut the debate over its future. But to carve such a beautiful tournament one needs some exceptionally carved out innings, some spells bowled with a big heart, heroic fielding, and sportsmanship which raises the bar of spirit of cricket and to honour all such wonderful and consistent performers over this short tournament the ICC on Monday, 20th June announced Champions Trophy 2017 team of the tournament.
The team has been meticulously picked by a jury comprising of former players and commentators and writers. The jury has selected a 12 member team comprising of players from five of the eight participating team.
The expert panel who had been awarded with this responsibility comprised of Michael Atherton of England, India’s Sourav Ganguly, Ramiz Raja of Pakistan as well as Lawrence Booth (Editor, Wisden Almanack and cricket writer, The Mail) and Julian Guyer (cricket correspondent, Agence France-Presse), with Geoff Allardice (ICC General Manager – Cricket) acting as the Chairman.
Indian southpaw Shikhar Dhawan who continued his love affair with the Champions Trophy, topping the batting charts for the second time consecutively having scored 338 runs, was picked as the opener. Pakistani sensation Fakhar Zaman who made his ODI debut in Pakistan’s second match of the tournament and since then has compiled knocks of 31 against South Africa, 50 against Sri Lanka and 57 against England in the semi-final. Zaman who also scored a gritty century in the final against India to lead his side to victory will be partnering Shikhar Dhawan.
Bangladeshi opener Tamim Iqbal (293 runs) who has been very fluent this season consistently contributing to his teams total and building a platform for the Bangladeshi middle order has been rewarded for his performance and has been allotted the No.3 slot. Two modern masters of the game Virat Kohli (258 runs) and Joe Root (258 runs) will take the No.4 and No.5 slots in the team respectively.
Ben Stokes (184 runs and 3 wickets) who is going through a purple patch in his career and probably is the best performing all rounder around, has been rewarded for his class and valour, he will be batting at No.6.
The team will be led by Pakistani skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed who displayed some great leadership skills on field and composed a crucial 61 in the league stage against Sri Lanka to help his team qualify for the semi finals. The Pakistani skipper will also take up the duty behind the wickets as he has also been named the wicket keeper of the team, for his swift glove work owing to which he effected nine dismissals.
English Leg spinner Adil Rashid (7 wickets), along with the pace troika of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (8 wickets), Junaid Khan (7 wickets), and the winner of the golden ball Hasan Ali (13 wickets) will form the bowling attack of the team. While Bhuvaneshwar earned praises for his accurate and economical bowling, Junaid Khan has been incisive. But of all the bowlers Hasan Ali has been particularly impressive with 13 scalps and a stunning average of 14.69 and consistently contributing to his teams cause by neutralizing a daunting opposition attack.
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson who had been a standout performer for his team, though his efforts couldn’t quite take his team through has been included as the twelfth man in this team.
ICC Team of the Tournament:
1. Shikhar Dhawan (India)
2. Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan)
3. Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
4. Virat Kohli (India)
5. Joe Root (England)
6. Ben Stokes (England)
7. Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan) (C & Wk)
8. Adil Rashid (England)
9. Junaid Khan (Pakistan)
10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (India)
11. Hassan Ali (Pakistan)
12. Kane Williamson (New Zealand) (12th)