Sarfraz to lead Champions Trophy team of the tournament
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced the Team of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which includes players from five of the eight participating sides, with Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed as captain.
The side was selected by a jury of cricket experts, which included former captains Michael Atherton of England, India’s Sourav Ganguly, Ramiz Raja of Pakistan as well as Lawrence Booth (Editor, Wisden Almanack and cricket writer, The Mail) and Julian Guyer (cricket correspondent, Agence France-Presse), with ICC General Manager – Cricket, Geoff Allardice, as chairman.
The jury was tasked with picking a balanced side on the basis of performances in the tournament. Statistics were used, but were not the sole basis for selection.
The side includes four Pakistanis, three Indians, three Englishmen and one Bangladeshi, with Kane Williamson of New Zealand as 12th man.
The Team of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 (in batting order) is:
i) Shikhar Dhawan (India) (338 runs)
ii) Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan) (252 runs)
iii) Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh) (293 runs)
iv) Virat Kohli (India) (258 runs)
v) Joe Root (England) (258 runs)
vi) Ben Stokes (England) (184 runs and three wickets)
vii) Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan) (captain) (wicketkeeper) (76 runs and nine dismissals)
viii) Adil Rashid (England) (seven wickets)
ix) Junaid Khan (Pakistan) (eight wickets)
x) Bhuvneshwar Kumar (India) (seven wickets)
xi) Hassan Ali (Pakistan) (13 wickets)
xii) Kane Williamson (New Zealand (12th) (244 runs)
Dhawan and Hassan had already won the Golden Bat and Gold Ball trophies for finishing as the most successful batsman and bowler, respectively, while Tamim was selected after driving Bangladesh into its maiden semi-final in a major ICC event.
Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman was picked as Dhawan’s opening partner after he aggregated 252 runs in four matches at a strike-rate of 113, following scores of 31 against South Africa, 50 against Sri Lanka, 57 against England in the semi-final and 114 against India in the final.
Joe Root was rewarded for his 258 runs in the tournament, while Ben Stokes was selected as an all-rounder following his aggregate of 184 runs and three wickets.
Fast bowlers Junaid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hassan shared 28 wickets between them in the tournament, while wrist-spinner Rashid finished with seven wickets with an economy rate of 4.73.
Sarfraz was chosen as the captain following his inspirational leadership during the 18-day tournament that was the cornerstone of his team’s 180-run victory over India in front of a full house. Pakistan had started disastrously when it suffered a 124-run thrashing at the hands of India, before it bounced back to defeat South Africa by 19 runs, Sri Lanka by three wickets and England in the semi-final by eight wickets.
Sarfraz also won the Player of the Match award in the match against Sri Lanka when Pakistan, chasing 237 runs for victory, had slipped from 74 for one to 162 for seven. Sarfraz, who came out to bat at number six with the scoreboard reading 110 for four, returned unbeaten on 61 from 79 balls with five fours.
Pakistan had entered the tournament ranked eighth on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings, but courtesy its victories against higher-ranked sides, finished in sixth place, which means it now looks well set to qualify automatically for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
“To be appointed as captain of the Team of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which includes some of the finest and most attractive cricketers of this generation, is the perfect icing on the cake,” remarked Sarfraz. “But I am more happy and delighted for players like Fakhar Zaman and Hassan Ali, who impressed their peers through their talent and performances, and found their way in the side. These two lads, plus Shadab Khan, are the future of Pakistan cricket and I sincerely hope they will only go in the upward direction from here.
“The ICC Champions Trophy 2017 has been a fairy tale journey for the Pakistan cricket team. The event showed the team’s grit and ability to bounce back solidly when the chips are down. I am confident that the faith and trust of the Pakistan cricket team will be strengthened with this performance of the side.”