Champions Trophy: The tournament and players that have proved their critics wrong

The underappreciated and unloved have had two weeks to remember

When the Champions Trophy rode into town two weeks ago, it was not so much welcomed as the prodigal son, returning to these shores after a nine-year absence, but more as an unwanted visitor grudgingly invited in for a cup of tea.

Historically the runt of the ICC trophy litter, and squeezed into an English summer already heavy with the weight of Ashes anticipation, the pre-tournament sentiment largely ranged from indifference and scepticism all the way to downright resentment.

Critics pointed to the tournament’s fairly undistinguished past, from the sharing of the inaugural title in 2002 – after the final was washed out twice, to holding the 2004 version in the treacherous conditions of English September, not to mention the postponement and relocation of the 2008 tournament following security concerns in Pakistan.

However perhaps because it was so written off beforehand or maybe just to spite the ICC, who are set to remove the tournament from their future plans, the feeling is that this edition of the Champions Trophy has been a quiet success – vindicating the small band of dissenting sages who always predicted it would be.

Helped originally by some unseasonal June sunshine and a quick-fire format that simply pits the top eight nations against each other, the tournament has had just one dead rubber and only one match abandoned due to rain.

There has even been time for a bit of controversy, with accusations of ball tampering, and the fists of Australian opening batsmen both flying around with reckless abandon.

Perhaps appropriately then, this unwanted but exciting tournament has also been notable for some fantastic performances from similarly underappreciated players.

Leader of that particular gang has been Jonathan Trott, who despite possessing an ODI average of over 50 – considerably better than anyone in England’s history to have played more than a handful of games, has attracted criticism with the same consistency that he has acquired his runs.

His detractors point to his marginally sluggish strike-rate but seemingly overlook the fact he has the fourth highest average of anyone in history to play more than 20 ODI innings.

He will never be a Chris Gayle or an AB de Villiers but the stability he provides at the top of the order has helped England climb the one-day rankings in recent years and the 209 runs he has scored in this tournament, at an MS Dhoni-worthy strike rate of 89.69, have propelled them to their first 50-over final in nine years.

Misbah-ul-Haq is another man to receive undue criticism from large sections of his own supporters, seemingly mainly just because he is not Shahid Afridi – when in reality Pakistan should be thankful that he isn’t anything like his fiendishly inconsistent countryman.

Without his runs in this tournament their woeful batting performances would have bordered on disgraceful. In the end Misbah’s 173 runs in three innings, including an excellent 96 not out, made up more than a third of all Pakistan’s runs in the Champions Trophy.

Another sub-continental scapegoat of recent years, Ravi Jadeja, has also thrived over the last two weeks, starring with both bat and ball as part of a very impressive India side.

The only time he has been needed at the crease, he made an unbeaten 47 from just 29 balls to prevent his side from blowing a position of great strength against South Africa.

With the ball he has picked up 10 wickets at an average of just 13 and an economy of 3.51, including 5/36 to decimate the West Indies – the sarcastic Twitter taunts of ‘Sir Jadeja’ seem a distant memory now.

Honourable mention should also go to George Bailey, a dignified stand-in skipper of a beleaguered Australia side, who despite much mockery over the years is currently one of the few top order batsmen not letting his team down, as half centuries against England and New Zealand proved.

So while the imminent consignment of the Champions Trophy to the tournament scrapheap might cause people to look back on it with a certain nostalgic fondness, we should remember just how unpopular it was with some and give credit to a few equally formerly underappreciated players who have helped to change that perception.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living