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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Champions Trophy beckons - is it the last?

From all quarters, everyone seems to be proclaiming this as the last Champions Trophy to be played! There had been many noises around the world where no one were convinced about the stature of the tournament (conceived by Sharad Pawar initially). One hardly remembers anything about the editions that have gone by except for those few and far between. West Indies (in their decline) and New Zealand have won one edition each while India & Sri Lanka shared the trophy (match being a no-result after 110 overs were played!) once.

The memory that stays in my mind is the quarterfinal of the 2000 edition between India and Australia for many reasons. This match was played when the Australian team was slamming every other team in the world.  India was rebuilding under Sourav Ganguly and had two relatively new players in their side - Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh (at the age of 18 years, playing his second match). Both of them used this match to pitch themselves to the forefront.

Image Courtesy: Cricinfo
The first image of the match was the way Sachin Tendulkar ran out of his crease to upset McGrath's rhythm. Known for his stinginess at the bowling crease, McGrath was thrashed for 61 runs in his 9 overs after the initial flurry from Sachin.

Yuvraj Singh was one player who made his reputation in this match by his match-winning innings, following up on Sachin's blitzkrieg. To quote Steve Waugh:
As a striker of the ball he played an excellent innings. He kept the composure of the side going and he saw them basically through to the end so it was a match-winning innings.
Zaheer Khan, in fact, was a revelation with his yorkers (Steve Waugh was one casualty) throughout the tournament staking claim to be one of the bowlers to be looked out for. Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad were looking for a third bowler to ensure that the pressure they created could be sustained and Zaheer proved that he was a good fit. What a revelation he would turn out for India in the years to come.

India defeated South Africa next but lost to (Chris) Cairns-inspired NewZealand in the finals.

Zaheer and Yuvraj were in contention for the 2013 version also - this itself speaks about their longevity and talent that they demonstrated in this 2000 match.

Do you remember any other image of the Champions Trophy? 
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