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ICC Champions Trophy: Team profiles

With the final edition of the ICC Champions Trophy beginning on Thursday, here’s a look at the profiles of the eight participating teams:

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PAKISTAN

STRENGTHS Overseas conditions hold no terrors for Pakistan who have not played a home match since 2009. They can also produce minor miracles when in seeming disarray as they did in winning the 2009 World T20.

WEAKNESSES The loss of pace bowler Umar Gul to injury is a serious blow and their batting is inexperienced.

ODDS 8/1

KEY PLAYER Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is one of the best bowlers in the tournament.

SQUAD Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Asad Ali, Ehsan Adil, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Abdur Rehman, Asad Shafiq, Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Irfan, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Amin.

NEW ZEALAND

STRENGTHS Combative, well-drilled side that have won away series in South Africa and England this year and consistently perform well in big tournaments.

WEAKNESSES Some bits-and-pieces all-rounders whose bowling could be exposed on good pitches.

KEY PLAYER Ross Taylor is his country’s best and most consistent batsman in test and one-day cricket with a range of strokes which enable him to score quickly without taking risks.

ODDS 12/1

SQUAD Brendon McCullum (captain), Ian Butler, James Franklin, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Doug Bracewell, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Nathan McCullum, Colin Munro, Tim Southee, Daniel Vettori.

SRI LANKA

STRENGTHS Versatile and prolific top-order batting complemented by the all-round skills of captain Angelo Mathews. Lasith Malinga, who now confines himself to one-day cricket only, is always a threat with his slingy round-arm variations.

WEAKNESSES Always a threat in Asian conditions but not so successful in England. Have lost their last four major finals.

ODDS 8/1

KEY PLAYER Former captain Kumar Sangakkara is a vastly experienced and prolific top-order batsman who also keeps wicket in one-day internationals.

SQUAD Angelo Mathews (captain), Dilhara Lokuhettige, Shaminda Eranga, Mahela Jaywardene, Lasith Malinga, Kusal Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake.

INDIA

STRENGTHS Strong batting throughout completed by captain MS Dhoni, one of the best finishers in world cricket. Won the last World Cup in a country where one-day cricket is king.

WEAKNESSES Shortage of quality pace bowlers.

KEY PLAYER Virat Kohli has matured into a classy, aggressive batsman who averages just under 50 in one-day internationals.

ODDS 7/1

SQUAD MS Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravinda Jadeja, Virat Kholi, Amit Mishra, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar.

AUSTRALIA

STRENGTHS Potential match-winners in captain Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and David Warner with the bat and the two left-arm fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. Won the last two Champions Trophies in India and South Africa.

WEAKNESSES Still in transition after losing a host of great players in quick succession, with Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey both retiring this year.

ODDS 5/1

KEY PLAYER Opening batsman Watson can dominate any attack with his meaty drives and pulls and he is also an experienced and wily medium-pace bowler.

SQUAD Michael Clarke (captain), Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Shane Watson, George Bailey, Xavier Doherty, Phillip Hughes, Clint McKay, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Voges, David Warner.

WEST INDIES

STRENGTHS West Indies, led by all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, abound with talent in all departments and their victory in the last Twenty20 World Cup was a welcome reminder of the glamour and excitement they once brought to one-day cricket.

WEAKNESSES Top-order batting is notoriously fallible.

ODDS 9/1

KEY PLAYER Chris Gayle can demolish any attack and on his day he is the most destructive one-day batman in the world.

SQUAD Dwayne Bravo (captain), Tino Best, Johnson Charles, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan.

ENGLAND

STRENGTHS England’s pace attack is ideally placed to take advantage of the new rules providing for a new ball at each end.

WEAKNESSES Their top-order batting in the absence of Kevin Pietersen lacks dynamism and their backup pace bowling in the series loss to New Zealand was inadequate.

ODDS 5/1

KEY PLAYER James Anderson at the peak of his powers, will be key to his team’s prospects as a strike bowlers at the top, middle and end of the innings.

SQUAD Alastair Cook (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara. Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Joe Root, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.

SOUTH AFRICA

STRENGTHS Solid all-round side with an attack spearheaded by the menace of Dale Steyn and bounce of Morne Morkel. Always field brilliantly and determined to erase their reputation as chokers in big tournaments.

WEAKNESSES The absences of Graeme Smith (injury) and Jacques Kallis (personal reasons) weaken their batting lineup.

ODDS 4/1 (favourites)

KEY PLAYER AB de Villiers carries a heavy burden as captain, wicketkeeper and brilliant attacking batsmen. If he fires in all three roles, South Africa will be the side to beat.

SQUAD AB de Villiers (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis, Rory Kleinveldt, David Miller, Alviro Petersen, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Ryan McLaren, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn.

Asad Haroon
Asad Haroon
A netpreneur, blogger and above all; A Human :) Asad tweets from @aghaasadharoon and can also be approached on Google+

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