Pitches for ODIs in England have mostly become batting-friendly over the past couple of years. It has also played a vital role in England team’s approach after a disastrous 2015 World Cup.
So, are 400+ totals on cards in this year’s Champions Trophy? The answer may be yes. If we go back a couple of years, England scored their first 400-plus ODI score against New Zealand. In the entire series, England were given pitches that suited the batsmen and supported their new aggressive approach.
It wasn’t a one-off occasion either. In 2016, England thrashed Pakistan at Trent Bridge scoring 444 for the loss of only 3 wickets. With flat surfaces expected for the tournament, we might even see this record score surpassed.
The phenomenon of scoring quick runs isn’t just limited to England. With the advent of T20 cricket, teams all over the world have been scoring heavily in England and other parts of the world. Gary Barwell, the head groundsmen at Edgbaston, talked to ESPNcricinfo and said, “If England win the ICC Champions Trophy – and they really could; they’re that good – I’d like to think the ground staff around the country will have played a small part in their success.”
This change of mindset has to attributed not only to international cricket but domestic structure of English cricket. Ground staff all over the country have been preparing surfaces according to the demands of the international cricket.
This has meant that domestic batsmen in England are now becoming accustomed to the change in dynamics of the game. They are also show casing their talents in playing aggressive cricket and good batting pitches have allowed them to do so. In short, it’s just not England side that has transformed, the whole English cricket is transforming.
Barwell is expecting to see batsmen friendly surfaces for Champions Trophy 2017 as well. He thinks that pitches will be high scoring with little seam movement or spin with minimal swing in the air. He remarked, “So, yes. We’re ready. And yes, I think you’re going to see some pretty similar scores to the domestic 50-over matches earlier in the season. Only once did a team fail to score 300 in the first innings and even then, it was only by 19. It’s a really exciting England side and I think we’ve given them the surfaces to show the world how good they are.”
So, it looks like that we will be seeing some high scoring contests. Since, the approach to ODI cricket has changed in the recent years, expect 400-plus totals in this year’s ICC Champions Trophy because 300-plus totals have already become a norm.
Champions Trophy 2017 begins on June 1 with England and Bangladesh meeting each other at The Oval. Matches will be played in Edgbaston and Cardiff as well. The most anticipated match of the tournament, India vs Pakistan, will be played on June 4.
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