ICC Champions Trophy | Indian pacers can help India retain Champions Trophy, says Kumar Sangakkara

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ICC Champions Trophy | Indian pacers can help India retain Champions Trophy, says Kumar Sangakkara

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SportsCafe Desk

05/30/2017

Former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara has praised the Indian pace bowling attack for the Champions Trophy backing them to help India retain the crown they acquired in 2013. Sangakkara believes that India have "real firepower in their fast bowling" which makes them a better-balanced unit.

Though India have traditionally been known as a side that has relied on their batsmen to win them games, there is no denying the fact that in the past few years the Indian fast bowlers have come to the fore when called upon. With the likes of Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Umesh Yadav in their ranks India now boasts of match-winners with the ball as well. Kumar Sangakkara is the latest player to acknowledge this fact as he wrote in his column on the ICC website, saying, "This year we have four Asian teams in the tournament and clearly India is current the pack-leaders in the region. It won in 2013 and it has a team capable of winning this year too."

Sangakkara backed the Indian squad to come good as a whole in the upcoming Champions Trophy.

"In fact, the team is arguably stronger, better balanced with real firepower in its fast bowling. Its spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are exceptional in ODI cricket and I am sure Virat Kohli is going to be desperate to bounce back after a disappointing IPL.

However, the 39-year-old felt that India were a "little conservative" with their selection. "The only slight concern I have for India is that its selection was perhaps a little conservative, but it is still very strong."

Given that the Champions Trophy features the top 8 ranked teams in the world, Sangakkara said that it would be difficult to pick the finalists. "I think picking finalists is too tough, but my favourites for the semi-finals would be Australia, England, India and South Africa," the Sri Lankan predicted.

Having won the tournament with Sri Lanka in 2002, Sangakkara also made a note of how the game has changed. "There was a time, not so long ago, when one or two countries dominated the format, but in the past few years we have seen several teams develop tremendously and now we have four to five teams who are very evenly matched, all with realistic ambitions of winning major tournaments," he said.

Finally, he concluded by heaping praise on hosts England for their improvement in the recent past. "England ODI team's progress in the past two years has been a revelation. It used to trail behind other teams in terms of its strategy and approach, but now it is one of the most progressive teams. England is playing an aggressive and exciting brand of cricket and it has some world-class players driving that."

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