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The ICC announced its plans for the next edition of the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled for 2017. The mega event will be hosted in England and will commence from the 1st June 2017. The final will be played on the 18th of June and all in all, it promises to be a thrilling tournament. With teams divided in two groups, the level of competition would be perfect to make it a grand event.

As the event was launched with a year’s countdown, skippers of the participating teams reacted to the tournament and sounded pretty geared up. Below, are the reactions from the skippers of the participating teams.

Mashrafe Mortaza (Bangladesh): “I am delighted that we are returning to the ICC Champions Trophy next year and the icing on the cake is we will feature in the tournament opener against the home side, which we beat in Adelaide to qualify for our maiden ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-final.

This is not only a reward for our performances and achievements in the past 18 months or so, but also gives us the confidence that we can start the event on a winning note. We have qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy on merit and through consistent results, which we would like to maintain this season and then carry the momentum into the main competition.

I firmly believe we belong to the elite group of teams and hopefully through our performances we will be able to justify our place.”

Eoin Morgan (England):  “The ICC Champions Trophy is an elite ODI competition, contested by the sport’s top eight ranked sides featuring the finest 50-over cricketers. As professionals, we want to be involved in such intense competitions where our individual and team skills are tested almost each day.”

Kane Williamson (New Zealand): “There’s always a little extra buzz around the group when we play Australia, so for us to be facing them in the opener will certainly be something both teams are looking forward to immensely.

There are no easy games in the ICC Champions Trophy and that’s what makes it so exciting to be a part of. The quick-fire nature of the tournament means you don’t get second chances, so it’s important to bring your best cricket from game one.

These tournaments are where you get to face the best teams in the world and find out where you stand. We’ll concentrate on preparing well, being clear with our plans and competing as hard as we can in every contest.”

AB de Villiers (South Africa): “I’m especially looking forward to the ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales next year as it is another opportunity for our ODI unit to make an attempt at winning silverware for South Africa.

There has been a lot of focus on Twenty20 cricket over the last few months and an upcoming triangular series against the West Indies and Australia is the start of an important journey of preparation leading up to the tournament. We are in an incredibly tough group with the three Asian giants in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, so we are going to have to play at our optimum best to have a chance of lifting that elusive trophy.

“It is going to be a highly competitive tournament as it features the eight top ODI playing nations and the quick nature of the schedule opens up the possibility of good quality and action-packed viewing for those 18 days. Every match will be a virtual knock-out so there will be plenty at stake and little room for slip-ups.

I particularly enjoy playing cricket in England and Wales; with its rich cricket heritage, its renowned venues with just the right mix of tradition and modernity, and culturally diverse and appreciative crowds, all of which are perfect ingredients to make it a memorable event. We have always enjoyed great support in England and Wales, there is a passionate South Africa expat crowd, so hopefully that can count in our favor.”

Steve Smith (Australia): “We’re looking forward to competing in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. It’s a truly global tournament that is highly regarded amongst all cricketers and one in which Australia has had success in the past.

Playing in England and Wales will also give us some vital experience ahead of the World Cup being held there in 2019. There’s a fair amount of cricket to be played between now and the tournament, but as the top-ranked one-day team and current World Cup holders, we will be keen to maintain our standing by claiming a third ICC Champions Trophy.

Looking back at previous tournaments, we haven’t performed consistently, but we’ve learnt some critical lessons, and we’ll continue to develop ahead of this tournament to give ourselves the best chance at defending our ranking.”

MS Dhoni (India): “Having won the event in 2013, we know how intense this event can be and we are under no illusion that it will be any different next year. In the ICC Champions Trophy, it doesn’t matter which other sides are in your group or who your semi-final or final opponent is.

You have limited time and the key to success is consistency, and being on top of your game each time you step out on to the field. There is very little room for error. I am sure the ICC Champions Trophy, like any other ICC event, will be well organised, and the team and I are looking forward to a lot of support, which was one of the factors that helped us across the line in 2013.”

Angelo Mathews (Sri Lanka): “The ICC Champions Trophy will be an important event for Sri Lanka as we are going through a transition and the young but extremely talented cricketers are learning to adapt to the challenges and demands of top-level cricket.

I am sure the ICC Champions Trophy will provide them the experience and exposure of a 50-over global competition, which they will find invaluable in their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 preparations. Sri Lanka is in Group B along with India, Pakistan and South Africa, and there will be no easy matches.

But if we shared the trophy with India in 2002 and reached the semi-final last time in 2013, I don’t see any reason why we can’t do one better next year. A total of 15 matches between the top ranked sides over two and a half weeks at three picturesque venues – it can’t get any tougher or any more exciting than this.

The short and sharp ICC Champions Trophy will test the players to their absolute limits, while the spectators are guaranteed quality entertainment almost each day, which is what cricket is all about.”

Azhar Ali (Pakistan): “The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 is a crucial event for us and as a team our main goal will be to win as many matches as possible so that we can improve our team ranking and qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

A lot of ODI cricket is scheduled in the lead up to the ICC Champions Trophy and it will be our best chance to learn, improve and win as many matches as possible so that we arrive in England and Wales next year fully prepared and ready for the challenge. The ICC Champions Trophy is one trophy which is missing from our cabinet.

It has earned the status as one of the most demanding, challenging and intense competitions. So, it will be nice if we can put our hands on this piece of silverware next year. In the face of competition from some outstanding teams and players, it will not be easy, but success at any global event comes only after

    A cricket enthusiast who has the passion to write for the sport. An ardent fan of the Indian Cricket Team. Strongly believe in following your passion and living in the present.

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