The Heavy Ball

The best tournament in the world (ever)

Why the Champions Trophy is nearly as good as seeing Natalie Portman naked

Jarrod Kimber
Jarrod Kimber
Jason Schwartzmann, Natalie Portman and Wes Anderson at the screening of <i>Hotel Chevalier</i>, Soho, New York, 25 September 2007

The Champions Trophy, flanked by unattractive cousins the World Cup and the World Twenty20 (or rather, Natalie Portman with two guys no one cares about)  •  Getty Images

The Ashes degraded itself this year by allowing two useless teams to play in it. The World Twenty20 was so boring, India never turned up for it. Australia took on South Africa for the world No. 1 Test spot; 12 people turned up to watch. And no one remembers how Deccan won the IPL.
That is because all these tournaments and series were just warm-ups for the one tournament that stands above the rest and spits down on them in arrogant contempt.
I personally haven't had so much anticipation for a single event since I found out Natalie Portman was going to appear naked in Hotel Chevalier.
There are children who refuse to sleep, adults who are not participating in society, and animals that are staring longingly at the TV just waiting for this behemoth of an event to start.
I don't even need to say the name of the cricket event I am talking about, you already know, you are counting down the minutes, nay seconds, until it starts.
The players are preparing themselves as we speak. They want to be in pristine mental, physical and existential condition come the start of the Johnny Cash of cricket tournaments (the only cricket tournament that matters): the ICC Champions Trophy.
The ICC only runs one event with the word "champion" in it. The World Cup might have some gravitas to it, but World means that any old country with a cricket kit can enter; Namibia played in it. The ICC Champions Trophy is way more elite as only the best teams will be there, plus New Zealand.
A tournament of champions playing the most important format of world cricket, 50 overs, with the cricket fans hoping their little cricket lovers' hearts out that their rag-tag team of potential champions can lift the trophy high and prove to one and all that they are the true masters of world cricket, champions of the game, if you will.
Players have trouble getting themselves up for other tournaments. I overheard some players recently saying, "Oh no, we are at Lord's for a Test match, again. How I wish we were playing an ICC Champions Trophy match in East London."
Hopefully the ICC will see the error of their ways and scrap all other cricket tournaments and just schedule a weekly ICC Champions trophy.
Then they just need to sit back and rake in the fat cash that is coming their way, as China, America and Sweden will want to get involved in what is the best sporting event in the history of mankind.
Remember the ICC Champions Trophy is not a cricket tournament: it is cricket. Everything else is a parody.

Jarrod Kimber is an Australian writer based in London. He can be found at