Champions Trophy won’t be a walk in the park for ‘hosts’ England: Starc

Melbourne [Australia], May 12 : Australian pacer Mitchell Starc has insisted that the do-or-die format of the Champions Trophy could spell trouble for hosts England, who claimed that they truly deserve the favourites tag ahead of the marquee ODI event beginning June 1.

Recently, England all-rounder Moeen Ali had said that his side fully deserve the 'favourites' tag going into next month's Champions Trophy at home, while one-day captain Eoin Morgan has called the current squad as the "most talented group" he has played with.

While England are sensing a golden opportunity to win their maiden global 50-overs title, Starc believes the proposition of a tournament like the Champions Trophy is completely different from the number of bilateral series that routinely occupy the international calendar.

"I think the fact they've been playing cricket in England before all the other countries is a plus for them, but at the same time it's tournament play and the Champions Trophy is a tournament where you can't have any hiccups along the way," quoted Starc as saying.

"Where in the World Cup you can probably get away with one or two bad performances and still get through to the next round, (with) the Champions Trophy you need to win all three of your round games to get through to the next stage," added Starc, who was Player of the Tournament at the 2015 World Cup.

Starc, however, admitted that the Morgan-led side are definitely never a team to take lightly. "(England) are definitely never a team to take lightly - I think at times you're not quite sure what you're going to get with the Poms," he added.

England are slated to play a bilateral series against South Africa before starting their Champions Trophy campaign against an improving Bangladesh side on June 1, which will be followed by encounters with New Zealand (June 6) and Australia (June 10), ranked number four and two in the world respectively.

Interestingly, England have played a series against each of the top three ODI teams in the world namely South Africa, Australia and India - since the 2015 World Cup, and lost all three.

And the Australian spearhead admitted that the current crop of players are doing pretty well at the moment, despite the recent defeats.

He also added that the England players would have an added advantage because they would be knowing the conditions more than any other team.

"Look, they're the home country - they're going to know the conditions better than the rest of the teams.

They obviously haven't done too well in tournaments in the past, but in saying that they've got a pretty strong set-up at the minute," he said.

"They've been playing some pretty good cricket against Ireland back home, and the guys in the IPL for the English are playing some good cricket as well," Starc added.

England are grouped alongside 50-over world champions Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh in the tournament which features the top eight sides.

Australian squad: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade and Adam Zampa.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

Source: ANI