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Champions Trophy 2013

June 25, 2013

Ten lessons from the Champions Trophy

Peter Miller, UK

Ross Taylor steadied the ship for New Zealand, England v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Lord's, May 31, 2013
Good cricket weather in England is rarer than a Ross Taylor cover drive © PA Photos
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Series/Tournaments: ICC Champions Trophy

The best side always wins
India went into this tournament ranked as the world's best ODI side. Granted this was according to the ICC rankings that usually contain as much truth as your average political party press release, but they were number one none the less. Before the tournament India's bowling looked suspect and the IPL-weary squad was weighed down by the spot-fixing mayhem at home. All of this seemed to suggest that India may struggle. We were wrong. India won every game, the bowlers took wickets and kept it tight, the top three were phenomenal and the fielding was dynamic. There's no doubt now over who the No. 1 side in ODIs is.

Duckworth-Lewis is still a work in progress
Only the British could invent a sport that was dependant on weather that was rarer than an off-side shot from Ross Taylor. As a result Messrs. Duckworth and Lewis got further royalties by setting totals in rain-affected Champions Trophy matches. Despite D/L being the formula of choice for a while now, there are still some issues. The method seems to play into the hands of the chasing side, especially when combined with the new fielding restrictions in ODIs. It may be the best method we have, but it needs tweaking.

People who question Jonathan Trott are wrong
Jonathan Trott has the best ODI record of any England player in a generation. He was the second best batsman in the tournament. His strike-rate is on par with some of the very best players in the world. It's ridiculous that some people still question his place in the side.

People who question Misbah-ul-Haq are wrong too
There are Pakistan fans who don't like Misbah. This is despite him being the most consistent player they have had in years. He has led Pakistan with grace and integrity, and has always given his 100%. In the Champions Trophy he was virtually Pakistan's only batsman. While his team-mates looked about as solid as ice cream in an oven, Misbah scored twice as many runs as any other Pakistani at an average that was two times better.

India are donkeys no more
During India's 2011 tour of England, Nasser Hussain referred to the Indian fielders as donkeys. This caused much outrage, but despite the unfortunate choice of words, Hussain had a point. They were lacklustre and lazy in the field. This time around, the Indian fielding was electric. In the final England's fielding was sloppy as the occasion got to them. They conceded five overthrows, and the margin of India's victory was five runs. Perhaps England are the donkeys now.

Shikhar Dhawan gets down to bhangra after India won, England v India, Champions Trophy final, Edgbaston, June 23, 2013
Shikhar Dhawan has arrived. And he's here to stay © International Cricket Council

Shikhar Dhawan has come of age
Most cricket fans would not have heard of Shikhar Dhawan before this tournament, even fewer would have heard of him before his amazing debut Test ton versus Australia in March. He has no fear, but he isn't reckless. He is an Indian batsman that can play the short ball and can cope with swing. As I write, Shikhar Dhawan is the No. 1 name on ESPNcricinfo's player search. His name could well be there every day for the next ten years.

English conditions are less English these days
Much was made of how two new balls in English conditions could be a deciding factor in this tournament. However the ball didn't swing for 90% of the tournament. Granted when it did it was tough for batsmen. In the semi-finals, both South Africa and Sri Lanka struggled when the ball moved around, but this was the exception rather than the rule. Reverse swing became more of a talking point. England got the ball moving the other way quicker than people had seen before. This led to some ball-tampering allegations - some explicit, some implied. As ever, without evidence allegations remain just that.

MS Dhoni is the first wicketkeeper-bowler
Conditions assisting swing, and two spinners in the attack - for MS Dhoni this did not present a problem. He handed the pads to Dinesh Karthik and bowled his medium-paced seamers. When he had Mahela Jayawardene adjudged lbw this seemed like the greatest piece of leadership since Winston Churchill took to the radio following the Battle of Britain. An inside edge saved Jayawardene on review, much to the disappointment of the massive Indian crowd. Dhoni went on to bowl four impressive overs. The wicketkeeper-bowler could be the future of ODIs.

South Africa didn't choke, England did
The choke is a much-discussed topic at ICC events, and usually comes up when South Africa are playing knockout games. When they failed to set a competitive total batting first at the Oval in the semi-final versus England we were assured they had choked. They didn't. A choke is when you are in a position where winning is all but assured and you still manage to lose. In the final England needed 20 runs from 16 balls with six wickets and two overs of Powerplay left, and they lost. That is a choke.

The ICC always gets away with it
There were no reserve days in this tournament. Despite rain being an ever-present threat during the period that is loosely referred to as summer in the UK, the schedule provided no wriggle room to provide extra time in the event of a rain-affected match. As the final approached the weather Edgbaston forecast veered towards the apocalyptic. The rage from cricket fans reached thermo-nuclear level as it became more and more likely on the final day that the trophy would be shared. A wholly unsatisfactory result for everyone concerned. By fudging the playing conditions at the last minute the ICC got a match in, just. As with holding the World T20 during the Sri Lankan monsoon season the ICC managed to get away with it. As the old saying goes, it is better to be lucky than good.

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Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Dummy4 on (July 12, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

Well written! I was surprised to see that this was written by a non-columnist!

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 27, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

having watching cricket from 1996 world cup till date....with more than 500 match ! ICC need to proposed to built indoor stadium in Rain favour country like England ,which always distract the fans , ICC have to plan i.e Suppose if the rain affected on match day hopefully venue will be shift to indoor stadium with no Guarantee of rain which will always pleasure the fans....lastly ICC need to learn from Australia which they have (Dome) indoor Stadium

Posted by Reg on (June 26, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

I'm sure Ross Taylor doesn't care two straws for your opinion of his talents, but more of his fans than just me may be offended by your misrepresentation of his batting style. Fortunately, Cricinfo's faciities allow us to check the truth. If you look at the wagon-wheels of his innings in the late and lamented test series, or if you read the ball by ball, you will find that he scored more than half his runs on the off side, and the commentators often gush their praises for his cover drives. Ross Taylor is the complete batsman, in part, I suspect, courtesy of coaching from Martin Crowe, and it won't be long before he is hitting more centuries of the very highest class.

Posted by jaya on (June 26, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

One more importent lesson to be learnt is that a tailend batsman should not be given the strike in the final ove,as far as possibler.Broad hit a 4 and next he takes a single resulting in Treadwel facing Aswin and he scores twice 2 runs and expecting him to score 6 runs in 2 balls.If only Broad had presece of mind ,he could have stopped Treadwel from taking the 2nd run of the 4th ball of the over and have a fair chance of hitting Aswin for two 4's or a 6 of the last ball. I have seen similar mistakes being done in the last over and resulting in losing the match with a specialist batsman or an alrounder stranded at the other end.In short the specialist batsman should know when not to take a single and expose the weaker batsman and also when to ask the weaker batsman to take a single instead of 2 runs,inorder to take take strike.

Posted by Mayur on (June 26, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

@Shaunak Banerjee Believe that indian batsman are better than many in the world. Everybody in the world agrees that the indian batting is the best in the world... except ppl like you... Yes they might struggle in SA... but until they play we ll never know... dhawan rohit and kohli are not afraid to pull... pujara has the patience.. so they might prevail with help of some good indian bowling... BELIEVE IN THEM...

Posted by mannanrasheed on (June 26, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

Well good to see that Indian team has been tasting the success so frequently, they have major titles under the belt, now the question is how long they are going to keep that up? i am afraid they don't repeat what they did after winning the world cup(white wash). I wish the success continues with players and with the team...

Posted by Arjun on (June 26, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

@Shaunak Banerjee: then why did rest of the teams miserably failed in putting up any decent batting performances on those "Non seamer friendly pitches", be it asiatic or non asiatic teams?Give some credit to Indian batsmen instead of simply trying out 101 ways of showing how prodigal you are..

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 26, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

Dilshan was a wicket keeper batsman earlier in his career. The luck of the toss was important in you should give more weight to the toss as well at the same time.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 26, 2013, 9:35 GMT)

Why are Australia and New Zealand NEVER chosen as venues for major Cricket tournaments? I agree that scheduling is a bit tight, but it can definitely be done. The last major one either had was the 1992 WC with the next one being the 2015 WC. A quarter century? Ridiculous. It appears that every other tournament is held in England. Why exactly?

The Women's tournaments have moved Down Under twice in the last decade, and were a rousing success.

Posted by Dummy4 on (June 26, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

Yasith, Dilshan is a bowler-wicketkeeper, that's where MSD differs

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