Champions Trophy XI: Captain Sarfraz pips Kohli, Tamim in at No. 3
For a short tournament where sides played a maximum of five games, the openers were both unanimous choices, based on consistency and the impact of their runs. Shikhar Dhawan, the tournament's leading run-getter, partners Fakhar Zaman, who played the most impactful innings in the tournament, in the final.
It would have been unfair to omit the tournament's third-highest run-getter, Tamim Iqbal, who shouldered the bulk of Bangladesh's batting workload, despite failing in the only game they won. He slots in at No. 3, an unfamiliar position for him. Virat Kohli had another exceptional tournament with the bat, amassing 258 runs at an average of 129, having only been dismissed twice, both losses for his side.
Our jury was split between Kane Williamson and Joe Root, two of the other modern batting masters across formats. Williamson's greater weight of runs and consistency in his side's three games saw him through.
There was place for just one allrounder, as is the case with most XIs in the tournament, and despite Hardik Pandya's surge in the final, there was no better choice than Ben Stokes, whose hundred against Australia, along with handy bowling performances against Bangladesh and New Zealand, decisively tilted the scales in his favour. Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim and Shakib Al Hasan were the others in contention.
Wicketkeeper and captain
This one was close to a no-contest, with Sarfraz Ahmed making it comfortably. Nine dismissals and one tournament-changing batting contribution were more than enough for most of our jury to back him with the mittens. Even more importantly, for picking up the pieces after the omni-shambles that was their opening game against India and leading his side to their first Champions Trophy title, he also pipped Kohli as the captain of our XI.
Despite pitches that mightily favoured batsmen, this tournament will be remembered for some of the bowling performances it produced. Three of the four bowlers in the XI are from the two teams which played in the final. Hasan Ali, the tournament's highest wicket-taker and Mohammad Amir, who bowled two incisive spells against Sri Lanka and India, combine with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was India's shining light in the bowling department. The final spot goes to Adil Rashid, who despite being dropped for the first game, ended up as the spinner with the most wickets in the tournament.
Josh Hazlewood has good reason to feel hard done by, but such was the stop-start nature of Australia's campaign that his best effort went in vain. Both Liam Plunkett and Junaid Khan impressed, and could well have taken up the fourth bowling spot, but some of the drier, used surfaces in the tournament meant the jury went with the spinner, rather than the extra seamer.