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Cricinfo Newsletter - ICC Champions Trophy, 2006

ICC Champions Trophy
India, October 7 - November 5

Expect the hors d'oeuvre to be a treat
Criticised for a format which had seen too many one-sided matches in the previous tournaments, the ICC responded by introducing a qualifying round to add a competitive zing to the Champions Trophy. While the six top ranked one-day teams before April 1 bagged wild card entries to the group stages, the last four – West Indies, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh – will have to battle it out amongst themselves for the last two spots in the group stages. Defending champions West Indies find themselves in the embarrassing position of having to qualify, but with their encouraging form over the last few months – including a 4-1 series win over India – they remain strong contenders. Ironically, Sri Lanka, which peaked a little too late, will also have to qualify. The real battle among the minnows is between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, and the recent one-day series between the two sides produced some entertaining cricket, with Zimbabwe emerging triumphant.
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Preliminary round

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh
Mohali - 7 Oct

West Indies v Zimbabwe
Ahmedabad - 8 Oct

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe
Ahmedabad - 10 Oct

West Indies v Bangladesh
Jaipur - 11 Oct
  Bangladesh 1 Habibul Bashar (capt), 2 Shahriar Nafees, 3 Abdur Razzak, 4 Aftab Ahmed, 5 Farhad Reza, 6 Khaled Mashud (wk), 7 Mashrafe Mortaza, 8. Mehrab Hossain jnr, 9 Mohammad Ashraful, 10 Mohammad Rafique, 11 Rajin Saleh, 12 Saqibul Hasan, 13 Shahadat Hossain, 14 Syed Rasel.

Sri Lanka 1 DPMD Jayawardene (capt), 2 MS Atapattu, 3 CM Bandara, 4 TM Dilshan, 5 CRD Fernando, 6 ST Jayasuriya, 7 CK Kapugedera, 8 MF Maharoof, 9 SL Malinga, 10 M Muralitharan, 11 PDRL Perera, 12 KC Sangakkara (wk), 13 WU Tharanga, 14 WPUJC Vaas.

West Indies 1 BC Lara (capt), 2 RR Sarwan, 3 CS Baugh (wk), 4 IDR Bradshaw, 5 DJ Bravo, 6 S Chanderpaul, 7 CD Collymore, 8 FH Edwards, 9 CH Gayle, 10 WW Hinds, 11 RS Morton, 12 MN Samuels, 13 DR Smith, 14 JE Taylor.

Zimbabwe 1 P Utseya (capt), 2 CJ Chibhabha, 3 E Chigumbura, 4 T Duffin, 5 AJ Ireland, 6 T Kamungozi, 7 H Masakadza, 8 S Matsikenyeri, 9 T Mupariwa, 10 EC Rainsford, 11 HP Rinke, 12 V Sibanda, 13 GM Strydom, 14 BRM Taylor (wk).

Your guide to who's hot and who's not in the ICC Champions Trophy
Chris Gayle It’s no secret that Gayle relishes Indian pitches and memories of him teeing off from the crease like a golfer in 2002 still linger. There’s no reason why we won’t see a repeat of that, given his imperious form this season. It all started with a hundred against India in Jamaica in May and he was a thorn in India’s flesh for the rest of the series. He continued his sublime touch in the DLF Cup, and his big hitting was pivotal in guiding West Indies to the final. In particular was the league match against Australia, when in the company of Brian Lara, he scored 79 and ruined Stuart Clark’s bowling figures in the process.
Mahela Jayawardene Sri Lanka’s purple patch in ODIs has coincided with Jayawardene’s supreme form with the bat. Moreover, his captaincy certainly seems to have added a touch of maturity to his batting. In England, he racked up two centuries in the five ODIs and scored 328 runs at an average of over 109. The most noticeable change in his game is that he has overcome the tendency to throw his wicket away when settled, leaving the opposition bowlers with plenty to contend with.
Vusimuzi Sibanda The emergence of Sibanda as a dependable opening batsman began with the tri-series in the West Indies earlier this year, where his 116 helped Zimbabwe beat Bermuda. Though he failed to convert starts in the first three ODIs against Bangladesh at home, he came into his own in the fourth, scoring a fluent 46 to set up a series victory. His ability to pick the length early and smash the ball over the ropes would have made even the greats proud, proving just how talented he is in a team bereft of world-class players.
Shahriar Nafees Talent has always been a natural resource in Bangladesh cricket and Nafees is the latest talented young thing to blast his way into world recognition. Standing up to the best in the world, Nafees hammered 138 with 19 fours in the Fatullah Test against Australia, channelling his aggression against bowlers of the calibre of Shane Warne. He topped the batting averages in Zimbabwe, also scoring an undefeated 118 in the final ODI. Just 20, Nafees has been named the Bangladesh Cricketer of the Year, nominated for the ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year and also named as Habibul Bashar’s second-in-command for the Champions Trophy. Now, that’s we call ‘precocious’.
Chaminda Vaas
The decline of Vaas, one of Sri Lanka’s premier strike bowlers, is an area of concern for Sri Lanka. Expectations were high in England, but his swing, cut and accuracy deserted him in favourable conditions. Persisted with for all five one-dayers, Vaas picked up just two wickets at Chester-le-Street and went wicket-less in the rest, averaging over 101 by the end of the series. Even if wickets don’t come his way, the least Vaas could do in India is to contain the runs, bowling a stump-to-stump line with the wicketkeeper standing up to the stumps.
Carlton Baugh Since Ridley Jacobs, the search for an able wicketkeeper batsman may have hit a dead end with the failure of Baugh in the DLF Cup. Proving himself as a finisher in the one-dayers against India at home, his form deserted him in Kuala Lumpur, averaging a poor 10.40. Nor was his wicketkeeping too convincing. With Denesh Ramdin breathing down his neck for the same position in the team, the Champions Trophy would be a chance to redeem himself.
Marlon Samuels A triumphant start in Australia in 2000-01 put Samuels on everybody’s lips, but subsequently injuries and poor form saw him fade away. He managed to force his way back for the Zimbabwe series but averaged just 5.00 in the four matches he played. The drought continued against India too. In four matches he just averaged a paltry 12.25. He also bowls offspin which is useful in one-day conditions, but his struggles with the bat could pose questions over his immediate future.
Aftab Ahmed A dasher in the middle order, Aftab has hit a trough, only showing shades of his form from the tour of England in 2005. Of late he has been a sort of cameo specialist, frittering away good starts. In Zimbabwe, he scored 40 off 24 balls in the second ODI, 53 off 39 in the third and 27 off 19 in the fourth. His scores may not look dismal, but with Bangladesh starting to find their feet in international cricket, they will need players like Aftab to adopt a more mature approach.


  Sanath Jayasuriya
Under the hammer for inconsistent scores, the tour of England and Netherlands was a make or break time for Jayasuriya. What followed was reminiscent of his 1996 World Cup heroics, playing with the same carefree attitude which ensured one victory after another for Sri Lanka. In the second ODI at The Oval, Jayasuriya blasted 122, but if England thought he would soon undergo a reality-check, they were wrong. At Leeds, another Jayasuriya special followed, scoring a hundred off only 72 balls. The carnage got worse, and he finished with 152 off just 99 balls to wrap up one of Sri Lanka’s most emphatic overseas victories and made England’s bowlers look like a bunch of school boys. But of course, the script didn’t end there. He annihilated the Netherlands attack in Amstelveen shortly after, scoring 157 as Sri Lanka piled up a world-record score. Spectators better watch out for collateral damage as Jayasuriya dispatches the bowlers to all parts of the ground.

Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
The Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in Mohali is one of the most modern and best equipped stadiums in India. The stadium will host the curtain raiser, between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the much-awaited India-Australia clash and the semi-finals.
Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
The Sardar Patel (Gujarat) Stadium in Motera is another impressive stadium in terms of facilities for the players. The ground will host two preliminaries and three second round matches. India will meet a qualifier on October 26.
Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
The Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur is the most refurbished of the four venues with floodlights now installed. The ground will host six matches, including England’s pre-Ashes tie against Australia on October 21.
Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai
International cricket returns to the historic Brabourne Stadium after 11 years. Floodlights have been installed and the stands repainted, giving the ground a whole new look. The venue will host five matches, including the final.
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