The Champions Trophy's past, present and future: A look at the tournament which England hope will end their quest for 50-over international silverware

 
Ross McLean
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England v India: Final - ICC Champions Trophy
England lost out to India in the 2013 Champions Trophy final (Source: Getty)

It was a tournament destined for the scrapheap but the Champions Trophy, which starts on Thursday, is back for an eighth edition, providing England with another chance to break their one-day duck and claim some global 50-over silverware.

When India snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against England in the 2013 final at Edgbaston, the hosts could perhaps have been forgiven for finding solace in the competition’s dissolution.

Not for the first time, the intention was to scrap the Champions Trophy and replace it with a World Test Championship, which would see all 10 Test-playing nations compete in a league over a four-year period.

The top four at a decreed cut-off point would then enter the play-offs and a three-Test championship, consisting of two semi-finals and a final.

Previous plans to hold a Test Championship in 2013 had been abandoned due to a lack of interest and subsequent financial constraints, while the renewed bid was eventually dispensed with in 2014.

“It proved impossible to come up with a format for a four-team finals event in Test cricket that fits the culture of Test cricket and preserves the integrity of the format,” governing body the ICC said.

Prior to its scrapping, former England skipper Mike Brearley, chairman of influential advisory group the MCC World Cricket Committee, expressed fears over the Champions Trophy being handed a reprieve.

“Not having the World Test Championship would feel like a diminution of Test cricket,” said Brearley. “It would mean another one-day trophy is considered more important, and symbolically and realistically that would not be a good thing.”

Prior to its abortion, the maiden Test Championship play-offs were set to be held in England, hence why its replacement for 2017, the Champions Trophy, is again being staged on these shores.

Given its pardon, the short-term future of the competition, which acts as a mini World Cup, appears relatively assured, with India already named as hosts for the 2021 edition. There are, however, no guarantees.

The tournament itself has been something of a cruel mistress to England with two final defeats: most recently four years ago but also in 2004 when the West Indies prevailed by two wickets at the Oval.

On that occasion it was an unbeaten 71-run ninth-wicket stand between tail-enders Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw which denied England, with victory sealed with seven balls to spare.

In 2013, England needed just 20 runs off 16 balls to win a rain-affected finale against India, although the rapid loss of four wickets signalled their demise and James Tredwell failed to deliver the six needed to win from the final delivery.

Aside from those close calls, England have managed a couple of quarter-final appearances when the event was known as the ICC Knock Out Tournament, while a semi-final in 2009 and a couple of group-stage exits complete their record.

England are ranked as favourites for this year’s title and their previous record on home soil provides compelling evidence for a surge into the latter stages of the competition and perhaps the final at the Kia Oval on 18 June.

The usual suspects are there, except for reigning World Twenty20 champions West Indies, who were not among the top eight teams in the one-day standings when it mattered.

If England are to end their 50-over international hoodoo, it would be hard to consider a time when opportunity is knocking louder than it currently is.

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