India arrive in Birmingham ahead of high-voltage tie against Pakistan

Azhar Ali says India clash ´just another game

Azhar Ali says India clash ´just another game

England kick off the 2017 Champions Trophy with, on paper, the easiest assignment they will face on their way to, they hope, the final at The Oval in 18 days' time.

It's an unusual position for England's cricketers to find themselves in.

Yet England's credentials are undeniably strong and, despite their stated aim being the World Cup here in 2019, the near-miss in the final of the World T20 in India a year ago and in this tournament last time in 2013, when they lost to India at Edgbaston, suggests their time is close.

With a full-strength team available for selection in their backyard at the Champions Trophy, England are clear favourites.

"The way they are playing, if you look at the last two years. they win nearly everything".

Clearly, England have the upper hand having won 15 out of the 19 games played between the two teams but since 2010, Bangladesh have clearly shown improvement, winning four out of the 11 encounters. "They appear to be peaking perfectly for this tournament".

"The best guess here is for an England-Australia final".

Asked if Roy's place would be under threat if he didn't come good in the first couple of group games, Morgan replied: "I can not see it (Roy's position) changing".

Saha, who will be holidaying in Kashmir with family, picked India ahead of Pakistan in the highly-anticipated first game on Sunday, saying on current form of Virat Kohli's men looks good to beat their arch-rivals.

The fast bowling attack bears a fearsome look with Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. And if they go down, they'll go down swinging. It's likely the laughter was just a way of Mashrafe being realistic about his side's chances in a tournament where they have not passed the group stage in four previous attempts.

Even Geoffrey Boycott of the Daily Telegraph seems enthusiastic.

With the bat, Aaron Finch and David Warner provide firepower at the top of the order with world No.1 Test batsman Smith coming in at first drop. It had to go. Their bowlers can defend any total and they are one of the most athletic fielding units now.

India and Pakistan last played a bilateral series in 2012-13 and now only meet at the multi-team tournament hosted by either International Cricket Council (ICC) or Asian Cricket Council (ACC).

Eoin Morgan's England are favourites for the ICC Trophy. Srivastava added: "Coaches can use their insights and expertise along with the bat sensor data to make specific adjustments to a batsman's technique ultimately helping him perform better".

"So no more talking, no more excuses". There's good reason for the optimism as England has made vast strides in this format following the embarrassment of taking an early flight home from the World Cup in 2015.

He said that the motto of this team was to raise the bar.

What's more, they've developed a taste for embarrassing England.

In their last 12 innings when they batted first, England have given their opponents 300-plus target 10 times.

"It should just be the start". The India-Pakistan rivalry on a cricket field is unparalleled.

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