The Champions Trophy Not-Mike-Hussey XI
The Champions Trophy features the top eight ODI sides, filled with world class players, so picking 11 names to keep an eye on is a tricky task. Some you'll expect, some you'll be bemused by, and some of you will wish Mike Hussey could be on the list.
The Champions Trophy features the top eight ODI sides, filled with world class players, so picking 11 names to keep an eye on is a tricky task. Some you'll expect, some you'll be bemused by, and some of you will wish Mike Hussey could be on the list. Heck, everyone wishes that.
And without further ado, here is our list of Not-Mike-Husseys to keep an eye on, for various reasons, during the ICC event in England.
<b>AB de Villiers – South Africa (capt and WK)</b><br><i>ODIs: 138, Ave: 50.38, HS: 146</i>
The Proteas skipper is one of the most athletic and innovative, yet technical and elegant, batsmen on the international stage. He has the ability to win a game all on his own, and can play the aggressor or the anchor, depending on the circumstances. He's shouldering a lot of responsibility, from batting to keeping to skippering, as well as the pressure of a nation that desperately wants an ICC trophy. If he bats to his average, and his lower back behaves, he could bring it home.
<b>Glenn Maxwell – Australia</b><br><i>ODIs: 11, Ave: 25.25, HS: 56 not out, Wickets: 6, Ave: 52, Econ: 5.37</i>
Maxwell's nickname is 'The Big Show' and he was the most expensive player at this year's IPL, bought for $1 million by Mumbai. He didn't get to prove his worth though, playing only three games and not shining in any of them. Why is he on this list then, you ask? Because surely he's got to come off soon?! He's very talented, but doesn't have much first class experience. He was thrust into the Aussie side on reputation alone, and now he needs to show what he can do when it matters, or he'll have the silliest nickname in world cricket.
<b>Virat Kohli – India</b><br><i>ODIs: 98, Ave: 49.43, HS: 183</i>
It's no secret that we love Virat, his eyebrows and pouty mouth just do it for us. His ego, aggression and prodigious talent make him enthralling to watch, and he is a vital part of the Indian top order. He's probably the man most sides consider their number one threat when facing India, and with good reason. He came into his own during the IPL this year, shining in a star-studded line up, and while England's decks aren't comparable, his form and talent should over-ride the differences. He's only played one ODI series in England, but did record a century in Cardiff, where India's opening game will be played.
<b>Joe Root – England</b><br><i>ODIs: 8, Ave: 81.50, HS: 79 not out</i>
The young Yorkshireman is the toast of the cricketing town at the moment, with his humble attitude and patient stroke play drawing admirers the world over. His emergence has stabilised England's middle order somewhat, and he's scored heaps of runs this calendar year. Given his Amla-esque temperament, one assumes Tests would be his forte, but like the South African batsman, Root can pick up the pace when required. In his eight ODIs he's scored three fifties, and since the end of April he's bagged two huge centuries, a double ton and a big fifty.
<b>David Miller – South Africa</b><br><i>ODIs: 20, Ave: 31.91, HS: 67</i>
The 23-year-old was a revelation during this year's IPL, playing more than one eye-catching innings and bashing a thrilling century to win a game for the Kings XI Punjab that they were sure to lose. He also had the best average of all batsmen, Hussey and Gayle included. His ODI career has not yet taken off, despite his T20 prowess, but his eye is in and the absence of seniors like Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis will give him the room to grab his chance on tracks he knows well. His fielding abilities will also come in handy for the Proteas.
<b>Marlon Samuels – West Indies</b><br><i>ODIs: 142, Ave: 30.84, HS: 126, Wickets: 74, Ave: 43.97, Econ: 4.78</i>
The West Indies all rounder has recovered from a groin injury that cut short his IPL adventure, which is great news for his side as he is a world-class match winner. No bowling attack is safe until he is back in the hut, as he demonstrated last year at the World Twenty20, and his bowling is becoming increasingly effective. The Windies haven't played many ODIs this year, and Samuels hasn't played any, so we'll be watching to see if his T20 form will carry through.
<b>Ravindra Jadeja – India</b><br><i>ODIs: 65, Ave: 30.23, HS: 78, Wickets: 70, Ave: 34.17, Econ: 4.78</i>
Jadeja, he of the perpetual sunglasses, is one of the more interesting cricketers around, and his self-confidence is often read as arrogance. He's an entertainer though, and his bowling spells have a knack of ruining games for the opposition. He's a partnership breaker, and with the bat he tends to contribute some valuable runs at the death given how late he comes in. He's fun to watch because he tends to throw out a game-winning effort when it's least expected.
<b>Thisara Perera – Sri Lanka</b><br><i>ODIs: 56, Ave: 15.81, HS: 69 not out, Wickets: 75, Ave: 26.50, Econ: 5.50</i>
The Sri Lankan is predominantly a bowling all-rounder, though his batting has come in handy when required. His strike rate is over 110 in ODIs, so while he doesn't get big runs he can be relied upon for valuable ones. His bowling is his main contribution though, and while he is a tad on the expensive side, he takes wickets at regular intervals and at important times. If Angelo Mathews doesn't fire, Perera usually comes to the rescue.
<b>Ravi Bopara – England</b><br><i>ODIs: 83, Ave: 30.62, HS: 96, Wickets: 20, Ave: 37.25, Econ: 4.63</i>
To say Bopara's inclusion in the England squad was a surprise would be an understatement. The Essex all-rounder has endured a torrid time, both on and off the field, this past year, and hasn't played an ODI since September last year. All eyes will be on him, assuming he gets a game or two, to see if he copes with the pressure of expectation. His domestic form recently has been good, with both bat and ball, and there will be few who hope he fails if given a run.
<b>Dan Vettori – New Zealand</b><br><i>ODIs: 272, Wickets: 282, Ave: 31.48, Econ: 4.12</i>
The former Kiwi skipper has been away from the international stage since September 2012, when he picked up an Achilles injury that took ages to heal (ha!). At 34, he's the most experienced player on this list, and all eyes will be on him for nostalgic reasons, as well as to see how he'll cope after being away from the top flight for so long. Vettori may not spin the ball a mile, but his economy has always been his strength, and he has four ODI fifties to his name. Aside from all this, his beard will attract a bit of attention too.
<b>Mohammad Irfan – Pakistan</b><br><i>ODIs: 11, Wickets: 16, Ave: 27.81, Econ: 5.02</i>
The seven-foot fast bowler has not had a long international career, but he has made an impact in a short amount of time. His most substantial ODI series was against South Africa earlier this year, and he impressed by taking wickets in all five games, 12 in total. His pace bounce, given the height from which he releases the ball, will be a handful on English
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