Champions Trophy 2017: Men to watch

With the Champions Trophy underway, Sportstar takes a look at some players from each of the eight sides, who are capable of coming up with inspired performances. After a month and a half of IPL, the action shifts to England for the Champions Trophy. While most of the teams have adopted the tried and tested formula while picking the players, there are a few specific performers who could turn around things. Let’s take a look at some of those who could make it count in the English summer.
JASPRIT BUMRAH (India): Modern day cricket is all about having players who can adapt and the 23-year-old Jasprit Bumrah is a perfect example of this trait. He can be effective bowling in the beginning, in the middle overs and also at the death —something that not many are comfortable with. After a decent outing with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, Bumrah appears to be in his element and should relish the seam-friendly conditions of England.
KEDAR JADHAV (India): While his side — Royal Challengers Bangalore — had a forgettable outing at the IPL, Kedar Jadhav’s performance behind the stumps was much talked about. Though some felt that he had to be quicker, his franchise showed full faith in him. And, that would boost his confidence for the Champions Trophy. While he is effective in picking up quick runs, Jadhav is also tipped as a back-up to regular stumper M. S. Dhoni.
CHRIS LYNN (Australia): This could well be Chris Lynn’s tournament. Coming from a career-threatening shoulder injury, the Queensland batsman proved his mettle with the bat in the IPL, and he would be eager to cement his place in the Aussie playing XI. In great form, the 27-year-old will bolster Australia’s batting in English conditions.
TRAVIS HEAD (Australia): A swashbuckling middle-order batsman, Travis Head’s sensible hitting could well help Australia at crucial junctures. While he has been unable to cement his spot in the limited-overs side, Head’s ability to bowl a few overs of spin would help Australia get an extra bowler in its ranks.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh): So what if he has fizzled out a bit in the last few months, Bangladesh will still heavily rely on its pace ace Mustafizur Rahman. If he is fit and back in old rhythm, Mustafizur could be Bangladesh’s major weapon in the English conditions.
MEHEDI HASAN (Bangladesh): Just 19, Mehedi Hasan Miraz has emerged as one of the brightest talents of Bangladesh. A batting all-rounder, who bowls genuine right-arm off-spin, he is tipped as Bangladesh’s dark horse in the tournament.
BEN STOKES (England): If his form in the IPL is any indication, then the Champions Trophy could well see some fireworks from this England all-rounder. While he is expected to come steaming in with the ball in the seaming conditions at home, Ben Stokes is going to be pretty useful with the bat too. In good form, Stokes is expected to walk the extra mile for his side.
JASON ROY (England): In the last one year, opening batsman Jason Roy has cemented his place in the England limited-overs side. While he can change the course of a match with his batting prowess, Roy is also known for handling tough situations well.
SHADAB KHAN (Pakistan): Like India, the Pakistan squad too is heavily loaded with senior players. Even then, a 18-year-old leg-spinner could well be the team’s surprise package. In the limited overs game, Shadab Khan has made his presence felt, and even as the conditions back the seamers, Shadab would give Pakistan spin comfort.
HASAN ALI (Pakistan): The young fast bowler will be the one to watch out for when Pakistan starts its campaign in the Champions Trophy. In the seaming conditions of England, the youngster, who made his debut against the West Indies a few days back, would bolster Pakistan’s pace attack.
TOM LATHAM (New Zealand): As a wicketkeeper-batsman, Tom Latham has proven his worth in the international arena, and he is likely to play a key role when the action gets underway in England. While he is known for being quick behind the stumps, Latham could also be effective with some big hitting.
COLIN de GRANDHOMME (New Zealand): Playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, Colin de Grandhomme made his presence felt with some big hitting. And, New Zealand too will be hoping for him to come good with the bat in the Champions Trophy. In a high-voltage tournament, it is important for a team to have a batsman, who can keep the runs flowing in the middle-order, and Grandhomme fits the bill perfectly.
QUINTON de KOCK (South Africa): Many in the cricketing fraternity believe that stumper-batsman Quinton de Kock has all the qualities to be a star, but he is prone to injury problems. The youngster, who opens the batting in the limited-over formats, is known for his fiery style of play and can change the course of a game with a big knock. Returning from another injury, de Kock would be hoping to make it count for South Africa.
KAGISO RABADA (South Africa): With the new ball, the young Kagiso Rabada can be dangerous. The Proteas fast bowler, who is considered the next big thing in world cricket, is all set to make this opportunity count. And, in the cool conditions of England, Rabada is expected to play a big role for South Africa. With his variations, he would be the bowler to watch out for.
KUSAL MENDIS (Sri Lanka): In a star-studded Sri Lankan side, stumper-batsman Kusal Mendis can come in handy. With age on his side, Mendis is not only quick behind the stumps, but is also known for quickfire batting style. At times of crisis, he could be effective.
LAKSHAN SANDAKAN (Sri Lanka): A Chinaman bowler, who can also bat a bit, Lakshan Sandakan can be a surprise package for the Lankans. While he remains an unexplored talent, many in the cricketing fraternity believe that being a chinaman, he can be a big weapon for Sri Lanka.