India strong contenders to win Champions Trophy: Irfan Pathan

With history and momentum on their side, all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes team India can repeat the heroics of 2013.

Irfan Pathan is hopeful of India’s chances in England.   -  Getty Images

Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has backed the Virat Kohli-led Indian side to successfully defend the Champions Trophy beginning June 1 in England and Wales. India won the last edition in 2013 under MS Dhoni and head into the marquee event as favourites after a hugely successful home season with 10 Test wins.

The Men in Blue, who are number one in the Test rankings after series victories over New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia, would hope to carry their good form into the ICC tournament.

"The Indian ODI team has been playing well in recent times and the players selected for the squad have been in top form. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and others have performed excellently in the IPL,” Pathan said in an interview with pakpassion.net.

"The same applies for the batsmen too. The fact that all these players are in good touch ahead of such a high-profile competition augurs well for the team,” he added.

"Given all these facts, I am very hopeful that the Indian team can repeat the heroics of 2013. That was a piece of history that I was also part of and I feel that the current squad can become champions again this year.” The 32-year-old further said that the Indian bowling unit comprising Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah would be more than a handful on overseas pitches. "Based on my knowledge of English conditions where the ball swings a lot, the Indian bowlers will be in good stead,” he said.

Kohli and his team are slotted in Group B, where they will play South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka while England, Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand form Group A. India will begin its title defence against arch rivals Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham following matches against Sri Lanka and South Africa on June 8 and June 11 respectively.

Squad : Virat Kohli (capt), R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Shami

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