2017 ICC Champions Trophy: England Will Be My Firm Favourites – Brian Lara
Former West Indies skipper Brian Lara has tipped hosts England to end their wait for a global ICC trophy and win the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy.
The new-look England side under Eoin Morgan has made a remarkable turnaround after a disastrous 2015 World Cup when they exited the contest at the group stage following a humiliating loss to Bangladesh.
With the likes of Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes giving the Three Lions a fearless approach, England have a become a force to reckon with in the limited-overs. They have already shown their immense potential by making it to the final of World T20 last year and giving India a run for their money in their own backyard in a three-match ODI series earlier this year.
Their form has convinced many that they are the hot favourites to lift the title and Lara is not an exception either.
Recalling the 2004 edition of the Champions Trophy when he had led West Indies to glory, the legendary batsman said:
“The ICC Champions Trophy was always one of the high points of my career, especially playing in the final at The Oval in 2004,” said Lara on Friday (May 26).
“I understand that this year’s tournament is going to be bigger and better than ever, so it’s going to be an awesome experience for the fans and us former cricketers to see who is going to lift the trophy. I think in these conditions, England will be my firm favourites. After losing out to the West Indies in the World T20, you look at the team now and they have some exciting players.
“England, in the past, would have maybe an Ian Botham or a (Andrew) Flintoff, but now you can look at the entire team and it’s very one-day cricket oriented. Today, you look at the England team and you’ve got players playing in the IPL, and players who are astonishing with both the bat and ball,” Lara explained.
Former England batsman Jonathan Trott, who was a part of the England side that lost the final against India in 2013 by only five runs, also feels that England can win the tournament this year.
“It would have been so nice to have won the final in 2013, I still have a few nightmares about that, but hopefully this team can go all the way,” Trott said.
“I remember there being such a great vibe in 2013. The English crowds are so loud and can be intimidating. England have got the home advantage and they can use that, but there are some good teams around the world in great form, so it’s going to be a really interesting competition,” he added.
England will kick off their Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh on June 1.
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