Thiago AlcantaraBarcelona’s coach is almost spoilt for choice with talents like Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas at his disposal and this Spanish prodigy knows he might have to spend a long time warming the bench this season.
Manchester United were mighty close to signing Thiago, but Barcelona prolonged the departure by reportedly promising the youngster more starts this season (something that looks highly unlikely with the star-studded lineup at Camp Nou).
Mitchell McClenaghanMitchell McClenaghan took 11 wickets in just three games for New Zealand. His pace and bounce was a source of constant trouble to the batsmen, picking wickets when his team needed them.
In the opening game against Sri Lanka, he picked four wickets in 49 deliveries that included dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan. New Zealand’s next game against Australia was abandoned due to persistent rain but McClenaghan had already made his mark in the match. He proved to be a bit expensive in his quota of 10 overs (65 runs) but returned with a haul of four wickets including that of Shane Watson.
In the crucial rain affected match against the hosts England, the left-arm pacer picked three wickets in five overs. However, thanks to a superior bowling effort from the hosts led by James Anderson, the Kiwis lost a close encounter by 10 runs.
James AndersonThe seasoned campaigner and one of the top pacers in the world at the moment, James Anderson used his experience and talent to the hilt managing to move the ball both ways. His haul of 11 wickets is an evidence of the role he played in his team’s run to the final of the Champions Trophy.
In the first game against Australia, Anderson picked three wickets in 10 overs and surpassed Darren Gough to become the leading English wicket-taker in ODIs. He put up another impressive performance against Sri Lanka in the next match — which England lost — taking two wickets. The encounter against New Zealand saw him take three wickets in five overs.
While the others lamented the absence of conventional swing, Anderson went about his business moving the ball in the semi-final against South Africa, scalping two batsmen while leaking just 14 runs in eight overs. Thus, he laid the foundation of a comprehensive win over the perennial chokers. In the rain-curtailed final, he took one wicket in four overs.
Jonathan TrottJonathan Trott has been a pillar of strength in the English batting order coming out to wield his willow at the all important no. 3 spot. His tally of 229 runs in five innings was the second best in the Champions Trophy that helped the hosts reach the final of the tourney.
He scored 43 in England’s opening match against South Africa. He was the top scorer with 76 runs in the second game against Sri Lanka though his side eventually lost, thanks to a brilliant century from veteran Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara. He was involved in two important partnerships of 83 (with Cook) and 87 (with Root) in the game. He failed with the bat in the next game against New Zealand which his side won by 10 runs.
In the semi-final, after England lost two wickets early in their chase of the South African target, he played the role of a sheet anchor and guided them home comfortably scoring an unbeaten 82 runs. In the final, thanks to rain, the match was transformed into a T20 game. However, the conditions weren’t conducive to batting and hence there wasn’t much scope to play his natural game.
Ravindra JadejaRavindra Jadeja has cemented his place in the Indian side as a premier ODI all-rounder with an excellent performance in the Champions Trophy. In the opening game, his contribution with the bat (47 runs) lower down the order helped India post a strong total of 331 runs as the South African bowlers looked to pull things back in the last 15 overs of the Indian innings.
He might have ended up with just 80 runs in the tourney but it should be duly noted that those were scored in 54 deliveries. Thanks to a brilliant performance from the Indian top batting order, the middle and the lower order didn’t get a chance to put up a rescue effort. However, it was Jadeja’s performance with the ball that earned him much praise.
He ended up with 12 wickets in five games with a best bowling performance of 5/36 against West Indies. He blossomed as a bowler in England and surprised everyone with his wicket–taking ability. He left the best batsmen flummoxed with the change of pace and amount of spin. Naturally, his rich haul of 12 wickets – the most – got him the golden ball.
Shikhar DhawanSince his debut against Australia in the Mohali Test, Shikhar Dhawan is enjoying a superb batting form plundering bowlers for plenty of runs. The southpaw, sporting a moustache, continued with his exploits in the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy where his contribution at the top laid the foundation for Team India’s dominating performance in England.
In five games, Dhawan, with the help of two centuries, collected 363 runs. He began the campaign by slamming a ton against South Africa ending with 114 runs against his name. In the next game against West Indies, his unbeaten century assured India a place in the semis. In the much-anticipated final league match against Pakistan, Dhawan scored crucial 48 runs that helped India chase down the target with 17 balls to spare. In the semis, he struck a half-century scoring 68 runs which turned out to be the highest in the match that India won comfortably.
In the grand finale, Dhawan played yet another crucial knock in a match that was reduced to 20- overs-a-side following numerous interruptions by rain. It was no surprise that the opener was adjudged as the man of the tournament.