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Shane Watson acknowledges his ton in the 2009 Champions Trophy semi-final // Getty

The greatest Champions Trophy XI

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Ahead of the seventh edition of the showpiece ICC ODI event, we’ve compiled our best-ever XI from previous tournaments

1) Chris Gayle (West Indies)

M: 17 | R: 791 | Ave: 52.73 | SR: 88.77 | 100s: 3 | 50s: 1 | HS: 133*
W: 17 | Ave: 22.35 | SR: 22.35 | Econ: 4.48 | 4wi: 0 | BB: 3-3

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle with 2004 Champions Trophy // Getty
Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle with 2004 Champions Trophy // Getty

The West Indian powerhouse is the leading run-scorer in tournament history and has also been surprisingly effective with his off-spin as well. He was his side’s second-highest scorer in their 2004 triumph, but his greatest performances came in 2006 when he hammered three hundreds and averaged 79 in eight matches to be a resounding choice as player-of-the-tournament.

2) Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa)

M: 10 | R: 460 | Ave: 51.11 | SR: 85.50 | 100s: 3 | 50s: 1 | HS: 116*

The powerful Proteas opener was hit-or-miss in 10 Champions Trophy matches, but was a devastating opponent when in top form. He scored three centuries (two in 2002, one in 2004) and a quickfire 77 against the Windies in 2006, to go with scores of 8, 4, 0, 16, 0 and 22. But given he was as dangerous in the field as he was with bat in hand, he’s a hard man to overlook.

3) Sourav Ganguly (India) (c)

M: 13 | R: 665 | Ave: 73.88 | SR: 83.12 | 100s: 3 | 50s: 3 | HS: 141*

Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya and Ganguly share the '02 Trophy after rain washed out the rescheduled final // Getty
Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya and Ganguly share the ’02 Trophy after rain washed out the rescheduled final // Getty

The Indian left-hander was one half of two powerful opening pairings at Champions Trophy events, first with Sachin Tendulkar and then alongside Virender Sehwag. The highlight of Ganguly’s 13 matches came when he hammered centuries in the semi-final and final of the 2000 event, the knocks coming just two days apart, even though his 117 against New Zealand in the final came in a losing cause.

4) Jacques Kallis (South Africa)

M: 17 | R: 653 | Ave: 46.64 | SR: 77.46 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 3 | HS: 113*
W: 20 | Ave: 26.25 | SR: 31.9 | Econ: 4.92 | 4wi: 1 | BB: 5-30

The high point of the South African great’s long Champions Trophy career came in the very first edition of the tournament in 1998, when he was named man-of-the-match in both the semi-final and final as the Proteas won the title. The right-hander hit a brilliant 113 not out in the semi-final against Sri Lanka in a total of 240 and then picked up 5-20 with the ball two days later to help secure victory in the final over the West Indies. But, as was the case throughout his career, it’s Kallis’s consistency that sets him apart.

5) Damien Martyn (Australia) 

M: 12 | R: 492 | Ave: 61.50 | SR: 73.98 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 5 | HS: 78

The stylish Australian may not have been as prolific as some, but his record of five half-centuries from 11 innings is highly impressive. Martyn’s high point came in Australia’s title-winning run at the 2006 tournament, when he sealed successful run chases in three of Australia’s five matches with scores of 78, 73* and 43*. He had also shone two years earlier, posting an unbeaten 60 to help beat New Zealand and then top-scoring in Australia’s semi-final defeat to England.

6) Rahul Dravid (India) (wk)

M: 19 | R: 627 | Ave: 48.23 | SR: 73.33 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 6 | HS: 76

With no standout keeper-batsman, we’ve opted for the Indian batting great and part-time gloveman as our man behind the stumps. Dravid took the gloves in 73 ODIs for India, including their 2002 Champions Trophy campaign, and posted scores of 71, 49 and 67 when he was the designated keeper. Overall, Dravid was unsurprisingly consistent in India’s powerful batting line-up and batted everywhere from No.3 to No.6 in the order, scoring six fifties from 15 innings.

7) Shane Watson (Australia)

M: 17 | R: 453 | Ave: 41.18 | SR: 82.81 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 2 | HS: 136*
W: 17 | Ave: 23.29 | SR: 33.8 | Econ: 4.12 | 4wi: 0 | BB: 3-16

While the Australian allrounder did his best work batting at the top of the order, we’ve squeezed him in at No.7, where he batted during Australia’s triumphant 2007 World Cup campaign. Watson’s selection in this team comes on the back of delivering when it mattered most; he was named man-of-the-match in the 2006 final as well as the semi-final and final three years later, guiding Australia to successive titles. He took two wickets and posted an unbeaten 57 in the 2006 decider and then hammered consecutive unbeaten centuries in 2009, blasting England and then New Zealand as Australia lifted the trophy.

8) Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)

M: 17 | R: 299 | Ave: 37.37 | SR: 83.75 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 1 | HS: 79
W: 18 | Ave: 29.00 | SR: 47.5 | Econ: 3.65 | 4wi: 0 | BB: 3-14

A model of consistency with both bat and ball throughout his career, the Kiwi spinner peaked at the 2009 event when he produced two match-winning performances to help New Zealand qualify for the final. Vettori posted 48 with the bat and took two wickets to secure a must-win game against Sri Lanka and he then took 3-43 and added a vital 41 to help beat Pakistan in the semi-final. His career economy rate of 3.65 is the best of any bowler to have taken 10 or more wickets, apart from Muttiah Muralidaran.

9) Kyle Mills (New Zealand)

M: 15 | W: 28 | Ave: 17.25 | SR: 24.1 | Econ: 4.29 | 4wi: 2 | BB: 4-30

Ask any cricket fan who has taken the most wickets in Champions Trophy history and you’d do well to find anyone who throws the name Kyle Mills into the mix. The underrated right-armer was a reliable performer and also produced some spectacular displays; he took 10 wickets at 11 at the 2006 event (including 4-38 in the semi-final), nine wickets at 22 in 2009 (including 3-27 from 10 overs in the final) and six wickets at 10 in 2013.

10) Muttiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka)

M: 17 | W: 24 | Ave: 20.16 | SR: 33.5 | Econ: 3.60 | 4wi: 2 | BB: 4-15

It’s no surprise to see the Sri Lankan icon in this team and his numbers prove what a reliable performer he was in tournament play. Murali’s best Champions Trophy came at home in 2002 when he took 10 wickets at a mind-blowing average of 7, while he also picked up nine wickets in India in 2006.

11) Glenn McGrath (Australia)

M: 12 | W: 21 | Ave: 19.61 | SR: 29.1 | Econ: 4.03 | 4wi: 1 | BB: 5-37

A star of Australia’s three triumphant World Cup campaigns, Glenn McGrath also impressed in Champions Trophy cricket. The right-armer’s best two performances came against New Zealand; he destroyed the Kiwis with 5-37 in Colombo in 2002 and then again four years later when he took 3-22 from 10 overs in the semi-final, while he also picked up the crucial wicket of Brian Lara in the 2006 decider.