A total of eight stalwarts were named as champion ambassadors for the all-important International Cricket Council (ICC) Champions Trophy scheduled to be played in England and Wales later this year. The champion ambassadors were unveiled on Wednesday the 12th of April 2017.
Namely, the ambassadors were England’s Ian Bell, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Bangladesh’s Habibul Bashar, New Zealand’s Shane Bond, Australia’s Mike Hussey, India’s Harbhajan Singh, South Africa’s Graeme Smith and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.
All eight players were once great cricketers and a few are still quite good in franchise-based cricket. Kumar Sangakkara, Harbhajan Singh and the recently retired Shahid Africa still has plenty left in the tank at least for a couple of years from now.
Let’s take a look at each player in person,
Commonly known as Mr. Cricket, Mike Hussey has a fantastic reputation of staying consistent even in the darkest of days for Cricket Australia. Hussey is a two-time champions trophy winner who made his tournament debut at the age of 31 in 2006. On his debut tournament, he only managed to contribute with cameos down the order. Hussey has two champions trophy fifties under his name.
The well known Proteas skipper Graeme Smith has captained South Africa in three Champions trophy tournaments. He made his first appearance as a 21-year-old in 2002. Smith’s captaincy was often composed but he only had a little luck in the tournament.
Smith’s highest ODI score of 141 came in a champions trophy game against England in 2009.
Calm and cool in composition, Ian Bell is often pictured as a silent killer who steadily steers his side with the bat. His ability to absorb pressure makes him one of the best in the longer format.
Bell has a high score of 91 against Australia in the ICC Champions Trophy. He also has an average of 31.37 in the tournament. In 2013, he was a key member of the England side that for to the tournament final.
Bhajji was once India’s best spinner but with age, he was ignored and replaced by Ravi Ashwin. However, he continued to play for the Mumbai Indians in the money-rich Indian Premier League. He has claimed six catches and holds the best bowling figures (3-33) at a champions trophy.
In 2002, he won the champions trophy when India shared the title with Sri Lanka.
Lala is one of the tournament’s finest as he holds the record for the fastest fifty in just eighteen deliveries. With age his performance slightly declined but he was still useful with the ball.
Afridi’s best Champions trophy innings was the 55* against Netherlands in 2002. He has tournament figures of 5 for 11 vs Kenya in 2004.
With 17 champions trophy wickets under his name, Shane Bond has figures of 2 for 63 in his tournament debut against Australia in 2002. His 4 for 21 against Bangladesh steered New Zealand to an impressive win in 2002.
Bond has a bowling average of 27.76 in the tournament.
Bashar only has five champions trophy matches under his belt. He has a high score of 30 against Zimbabwe in 2006. He is the only batsman to have been dismissed thrice in a row without scoring a run.
However, his experience had a good effect on Bangladesh in major tournaments.
Finally, Sri Lanka’s very own Kumar Sangakkara has a total of six champions trophy tournaments under his name. He was a key player in CT 2004 when Sri Lanka met India in the finals.
Sanga has a tournament high score of 134* that came against England in 2013.
His retirement has certainly forced Sri Lanka to the back foot as they’ve found it impossible to identify a solid replacement. However, this year’s squad has done good work ahead of the all-important tournament.
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