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Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said that among the Asian teams playing in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, “India are easily the pack-leaders.” He also rated England and Australia as strong contenders for the title.
In a column for the official website of the International Cricket Council, the Sri Lanka great rated the chances that each of the eight teams have in clinching the title. “This year we also have four Asian teams in the tournament and clearly India is current the pack-leaders in the region,” he said, “It won in 2013 and it has a team capable of winning this year too. In fact, the team is arguably stronger, better balanced with real firepower in its fast bowling.”
About Australia, Sangakkara said that they are “one of the strongest contenders.”It have been playing some great ODI cricket of late and it is probably the best-balanced team in the competition. Its batsmen are also in-form and its bowling attack is potent,” he said. He also said that England’s progress over the last two years as an ODI squad has been a “revelation.”
“It used to be one of the team’s that traditionally struggle in big tournaments, but under this set-up – shrewdly overseen by coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace with Andrew Strauss a strong Director of Cricket – its past record is perhaps not relevant,” he said.
Kumar Sangakkara led Sri Lanka for two years between 2009 and 2011 and is regarded as one of the greatest Sri Lanka batsmen and one of the best wicket keepers of his time. He had led Sri Lanka to the finals of the 2009 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup.
The ICC Champions Trophy starts on June 1 with hosts England playing Bangladesh in the opener.