Feared I might miss the Champions Trophy, says Australia's Stoinis

While big sporting events around the world have learnt to live with the dangers of terrorism and an enhanced and more visible security apparatus, an attack of such nature just days ahead of a big event is bound to raise concerns. If you are not, your chances go down pretty soon. I think that's the biggest challenge in Champions Trophy and something that all the players love playing for sure. In Test cricket, we've been able to reach the top with that mindset, (along) with a hunger to win. Some people can not connect the two formats at all, some people take the bits and pieces and put them into place in all three formats.

"The players are uneasy", South Africa's team manager Mohammed Moosajee revealed, as quoted on CricBuzz. The team is scheduled to play Pakistan at Edgbaston, Birmingham on June 4 amidst tense bilateral relations between the two nations. "We would like to stick to same strengths and we believe that these are the factors which determine how you play in conditions like England", he explained.

"We are excited about being associated with New Zealand cricket for the first time and Amul welcomes the Black Caps to the family", said R S Sodhi, managing director of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) - the apex body of dairy unions that markets Amul.

And Bell, a veteran of two ICC Champions Trophy campaigns, is confident that experience - coupled with his undeniable talent - can make him a positive influence in England's plans.

"I think the tournament is much shorter".

Even though Virat Kohli tried to play it down in the press conference, he is approaching the tournament with all seriousness. I don't know why things are built up as matters of life and death for sub-continental cricketers. They lost the first Border-Gavaskar Test to Australia but came back from behind to stun them and retain their numero uno spot. Australia are placed in Group A along with hosts England, New Zealand and Bangladesh. Interestingly, Yuvraj made his ODI debut in Champions Trophy 2000. They should play their game in the middle order.

In fact Billings is one of three wicket-keepers who could all arguably sit in the side for their battling alone, joining Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow on the sidelines, though both are in the squad for the showcase tournament. Rohit and Shikhar were a revelation as an opening pair.

With a week to go until the Champions Trophy begins, 88 per cent of tickets have been snapped up with eight of the 15 games sold out.

  • Julie Sanders