Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara today said defending champions India were capable of retaining the Champions Trophy title as they were a better balanced unit with “real firepower in their fast bowling”.”This year we have four Asian teams in the tournament and clearly India is current the pack-leaders in the region. It won in 2013 and it has a team capable of winning this year too,” Sangakkara wrote in his column in ICC website.”In fact, the team is arguably stronger, better balanced with real firepower in its fast bowling. Its spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are exceptional in ODI cricket and I am sure Virat Kohli is going to be desperate to bounce back after a disappointing IPL,” he added.The wicketkeeper-batsman, however, felt that Indias selection was a “little conservative”.”The only slight concern I have for India is that its selection was perhaps a little conservative, but it is still very strong,” he said.The 39-year-old picked India as one of his favourite teams to make the semifinals of the upcoming tournament, starting on June 1.”I think picking finalists is too tough, but my favourites for the semi-finals would be Australia, England, India and South Africa,” Sangakkara, who won the Champions Trophy 2002 and World Twenty20 2014 with Sri Lanka, said.Sangakkara, who quit international cricket two years ago having scored a total of 28,016 international runs across all formats, said the competition was going to be very tough with 4-5 teams having the potential of making it to the final.advertisement”There was a time, not so long ago, when one or two countries dominated the format, but in the past few years we have seen several teams develop tremendously and now we have four to five teams who are very evenly matched, all with realistic ambitions of winning major tournaments.”Heaping praise on the hosts, Sangakkara said that English team has been a real revelation. “England ODI teams progress in the past two years has been a revelation. It used to trail behind other teams in terms of its strategy and approach, but now it is one of the most progressive teams.”England is playing an aggressive and exciting brand of cricket and it has some world-class players driving that,” Sangakkara said.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) special committee on Saturday accepted the 70 years age cap and number of selectors in the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha panel reforms. The seven-member committee has narrowed the reservations down to four — one state one vote, cooling off period for BCCI office bearers, cooling off for apex council and demarcation functions of professionals and official bearers. The committee will meet again in another emergent meet before the Supreme Court hearing on July 14.If all goes well, the likes of N Srinivasan, Sharad Pawar and Niranjan Shah will make their way out as all the former BCCI officials are over 70 years of age.”Earlier, there were reservations against seven points but we wanted to reduce it to three or four. The committee has decided that the four points needs more consideration of the Supreme Court. One state one vote, cooling off period for BCCI office bearers and not association, functions as set out between office bearers and professionals review, cooling off for apex council also to be reviewed,” Amitabh Choudhary said.He further said, “the committee is okay with number of selectors and 70 years age cap for an office bearer.”The seven-member committee was named to analyse the few contentious Lodha panel reforms which are being opposed by the Board’s state units is headed by senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla. The committee also comprises of former India captain Sourav Ganguly, TC Mathew (former Kerala Cricket Association president), Naba Bhattacharjee (Meghalaya Cricket Association Secretary), Jay Shah (Gujarat Cricket Association secretary and son of BJP president Amit Shah), BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary and acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, who is also the convener of the committee.advertisementEarlier in a landmark judgment on July 18, 2016, the Supreme Court accepted major recommendations of Justice R.M. Lodha-led panel on structural reforms in the BCCI and had given six months deadline to the board implement the recommendations.On October 1, the board had accepted many of the “significant recommendations” of the Lodha Committee, but excluded the important ones which have been a bone of contention between the cricket body and the Lodha Panel.The recommendations, which have still not been accepted by the 30-member committee, include one-state one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators, continue with the five-selectors and retaining the powers of the president and secretary as per the earlier constitution of the board.(With inputs from ANI)