The eighth edition of ICC Champions Trophy is all set to kick start from June 1 with the inaugural game being played between England and Bangladesh. With the tournament being played in England, one can expect the surfaces to be batting-friendly and witness plenty of runs as because at present, the English conditions are not like past where bowlers will have the upper hand. The three venues scheduled to host the tournament are Sophia Gardens, Edgbaston and Kennington Oval. All three pitches have a reputation of dishing out surfaces, which are conducive for batting. One can expect a massive flow of runs throughout the tournament with plenty of batting talents being around.
The contest between the top eight sides in One-Day International (ODI) cricket will be mesmerising to watch. A lot of team’s success will highly depend on how their batting department fares. With so many fascinating batting talents being around, it becomes a tedious job in hand-picking just five batsmen, who will stand out. Perhaps, there may be more but as of now, let’s take a look at five batsmen who are well capable of making a massive impact and inflict huge damage on the opposition.
AB de Villiers (South Africa)
There are hardly any adjectives that can describe the kind of batting talent South Africa’s Ab de Villiers boasts off. De Villiers is the most versatile and impactful batsman in contemporary cricket. He can anchor an innings and step his foot on the accelerator in no time to garner quick runs. De Villiers didn’t enjoy a prolific run in the Indian Premier League but looked good in a couple of games of the ongoing series against England in their own backyard. With this series, he is not only getting some match practice but also getting used to the conditions, which will come handy. This series will only do good for South African players are they will be a step ahead than other teams in terms of preparation. De Villiers carries colossal experience to his name, his belligerent approach and the astute sense of placing an innings can turn out to be a nightmare for his opponents.
Virat Kohli (India)
The Indian skipper is reckoned as a big match player and has been the spine of his side’s batting line-up for a while now. Kohli is a complete batsman and has all the bases covered when it comes to batting. Probably the best white ball batsman in world cricket, Kohli will be eyeing to defend the title with a bunch of young and experienced Indian side. Kohli had a lean patch in Test series against Australia and the recently concluded Indian Premier League. He is undoubtedly eyeing to make up for it in the coveted tournament. With his career graph being on the rise and ODIs being a different ball game altogether, Kohli will be the man to watch out for in the high-voltage action. He is a run machine and has scripted numerous records in his cricket career so far. This tournament is the perfect platform for him to bounce back and make an immediate impact.
Steve Smith (Australia)
Smith too belongs to the league of Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson. Smith got some massive runs in the Test series against India in their backyard and did reasonably well in the Indian Premier League. He led his side – Rising Pune Supergiant to the final but lost the battle against Mumbai Indians in the ultimate over. He is high on confidence and this is his golden opportunity to stamp the authority in ODI cricket as a skipper. He has led the side with example and is expected to do the same in England as well. Smith’s unorthodox yet effective technique and style of play have helped him score runs across the globe, he is well capable of anchoring an innings and will hold the key for Australia’s success.
Joe Root (England)
With the advantage of playing at home coming his way, Joe Root will be a massive threat that England possess. Root has had a good run against Ireland and got good starts in the ongoing series against South Africa. He has been on a roll this season with some big runs to his name and led the batting attack with immense confidence. Root is another batsman with sound technique and monk-like temperament. He is widely known for his ability to anchor the innings and shift gears when needed. England have a solid chance in this tournament with a well-balanced and performing side, Root will be well aware of this fact and look to get the scoreboard ticking as soon as he takes guard.
Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Kane Williamson has been the silent assassin in the New Zealand side. He may not be as flashy as his rivals but his impact in the game is similar to them. Though New Zealand have a slightly bleaker chance of winning the title, but one can expect Williamson fare well. With an average of just over 45 and a calm mind, Williamson is a force to reckon. He played some glamorous innings for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League and is currently oozing with confidence. If New Zealand are eyeing to make it big then their skipper will have to score a lot of runs.