ICC Champions Trophy – India not favourites in English conditions: Chris GayleMay 16, 2017
Staging next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in England, where conditions are expected to help pace bowlers, will somewhat level the field, Chris Gayle said in Delhi on Monday. (IPL FULL COVERAGE)
The former West Indies skipper rued that the Caribbean team, the World T20 champions, will miss out after failing to make the cut in terms of ICC rankings. The International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced the qualification norm after deciding to make it an eight-team affair.
“It is sad West Indies is not there. That is the new rules ICC brought in (only top eight teams qualify). It is difficult to pinpoint one team (as favourite), especially because we are playing in England, and the conditions are going to be tricky.
“It’s a fast bowling place because of the conditions. Whoever can make the adjustment as quick as possible, utilise it well (will do well). And the weather is going to be hot and cold,” the explosive Jamaican batsman on the sidelines of launching a fashion brand — attiitude — on Monday.
Breather for batsmen
Chris Gayle feels switching to ODIs after the Indian Premier League will actually help batsmen as will get more time to settle down. Holders India, South Africa, hosts England, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are in the fray.
“The longer version will give them more time as well… T20 cricket is so fast, so being able to make that adjustment in the longer format should be fantastic for them,” he said.
India skipper Virat Kohli needs to find his groove quickly ahead of their high-profile first match against Pakistan at Edgbaston on June 4.
While KL Rahul will miss out due to injury while Rohit Sharma is gradually finding form on return after thigh surgery and shoulder trouble. He has led Mumbai Indians into the IPL playoffs.
However, Ajinkya Rahane is in woeful form, having made just 282 runs at an average of 21.69 for Rising Pune Supergiant.
Although the team are in playoffs, MS Dhoni too is nowhere near finding his best form as a finisher.
However, India’s pace line-up of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah as well as all-arounder Hardik Pandya looks formidable.
Champions Trophy, a test for 50-over cricket
The ICC Champions Trophy should also give an indicator where 50-over cricket stands with the surge in popularity of the shortest format.
The ICC had contemplated scrapping the event in 2013, but changed its mind to try and have one ICC event every year.
“It’s experimenting because ICC Champions Trophy was out for a while and it has been reintroduced,” said Gayle, referring to the event moving from a two-year cycle after 2006.
“We’ll see (the popularity), but they are playing it in the right place, England. As a cricketer, you will have fans watching the game.
“Hopefully, it will be an entertaining one.”