As the Indian Premier League races to the Playoffs, international teams are gearing up for another cricketing extravaganza – the ICC Champions Trophy, to be held in England and Wales over a period of eighteen days, starting from June 1. Although the participation of the defending champions India is yet unclear, the tournament promises to bring One Day Cricket back into focus as eight world class sides clash for the famed trophy, over a course of nine matches.
The ICC Champions Trophy, which began as the ICC Knock Out Tournament in 1998, is second in importance to the Cricket World Cup, and has been played approximately every two years since then. The number of teams competing has varied over the years; originally all the ICC’s full members took part, and from 2000 to 2004 associate members were also involved. Since 2009, the tournament has only involved the eight highest-ranked ODI teams as of six months prior to the tournament.
This year The teams are split into two groups with hosts England, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh in Group A while India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa making up Group B. The first match will take place between England and Bangladesh on June 1 at The Oval. India’s first match is scheduled to be against arch-rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston on 4 June.
However, India’s squad for the tournament is yet to be announced, with the BCCI still mulling a boycott of the prestigious tournament over disputes over revenue-sharing with the ICC and other full members.The BCCI is still smarting after having seen its share of revenue from International Cricket Council (ICC) from 2016 to 2023 slashed almost by half — from $570 million to $293 million after the Indian board was outvoted at the recent ICC board meeting in Dubai. The BCCI has already missed the April 2 deadline for submission of squad lists, and Vinod Rai, the head of the Committee of Administrators(CoA) overseeing the transition of power in the BCCI after most office bearers were dismissed by the Supreme Court, has indicated that a final decision on India’s participation will be taken only after the BCCI SGM on May 7. The Indian team had won the Champions Trophy in 2013 in England, and cricket enthusiasts expected them to mount a strong defence of their title this year, save for this unexpected fracas.
Also favourite to win this year would be the South African side. Former SA players feel that this Proteas side possesses the balance, the X-factors, the allrounders and the pedigree to go all the way at the ICC Champions Trophy tournament. The inclusion of Keshav Maharaj and the presence of the immensely talented Chris Morris (who has been in golden form in the IPL) were cited as reasons why other contenders should view the SA side warily as far as the Champions Trophy goes.