Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Legendary West Indies batsman Brian Lara has backed England to win the Champions Trophy next month.
England will be hosting the tournament, but have never won it before. They came close to doing so on two occasions in 2004 and 2013, where they finished as the runners-up.
In 2004, it was Lara who captained the West Indies to Champions Trophy glory as they took down England by two wickets.
“The ICC Champions Trophy was always one of the high points of my career, especially playing in the final at The Oval in 2004,” Lara said. “I understand that this year’s tournament is going to be bigger and better than ever, so it’s going to be an awesome experience for the fans and us former cricketers to see who is going to lift the trophy.
“I think in these conditions, England will be my firm favourites. After losing out to the West Indies in the World T20, you look at the team now and they have some exciting players.
“England, in the past, would have maybe an Ian Botham or a (Andrew) Flintoff, but now you can look at the entire team and it’s very one-day cricket oriented. Today, you look at the England team and you’ve got players playing in the IPL, and players who are astonishing with both the bat and ball.”
Former England batsman Jonathan Trott agreed with Lara’s pick, but admitted that he was gutted that his side couldn’t get the job done against India in 2013. The match had been reduced to 20 overs per side and even though England did well to restrict India to 129/7, there ended up losing the game by five runs.
“It would have been so nice to have won the final in 2013, I still have a few nightmares about that, but hopefully this team can go all the way,” Trott said. “I remember there being such a great vibe in 2013. The English crowds are so loud and can be intimidating. England have got the home advantage and they can use that, but there are some good teams around the world in great form, so it’s going to be a really interesting competition.”