World Cup winning captain Micheal Clarke has given his predictions for the ICC Champions Trophy next month. Clarke predicts a closely fought tournament culminating in a mouth-watering final for the Champions Trophy.
Clarke, who is currently commentating in the IPL, predicts an India – Australia final at the end of the high-profile tournament. But he also believes that the conditions in England and Wales will have a strong bearing on the outcome for most of the matches in the tournament.
“I see India and Australia in final. The conditions in the UK are going to play a big part. For example, if there’s swing and seam on offer, Australian pacers will be tough to face. That will hold us in good stead. The likes of Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins can be tough to face.”
“If it’s hot and the wicket spins, there’s no better exponents (on those tracks) than Ashwin and Jadeja. That will be in India’s favour. In Jadeja, India have the luxury of a quality spinner, who can bat. He is as good a spinner as anybody in world cricket.”
“It’s a different format (50 over). You get more chance to build your innings during batting. I don’t think the Indian batsmen will be too concerned about their form in IPL or not.”
“They will have enough time to prepare for Champions Trophy. They will be confident having won the Champions Trophy, last time. They have had success in shorter formats in the United Kingdom.”
While Clarke does have his reasons to pick India and Australia, you would be hard pressed to look beyond England as the team to beat in the tournament. With favorable home conditions and a raucous home crowd backing them, England are most people’s favorites to lift the Champions Trophy.
And if there was ever a time for the South Africans to discard their ‘choker’s tag then surely this must be the time right?