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Mashrafe Mortaza: England a serious side but pressure is on hosts

02 Juin 2017

Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are among the bowlers to look out for in the Indian squad, while Saeed Ajmal has an outstanding performance to his credit for taking 18 wickets in eight games against India.

England's main injury concern ahead of the tournament centred on Ben Stokes, who had been troubled by a knee problem.

Australia and New Zealand will look up to their inspirational skippers Steve Smith and Kane Williamson to straightaway set the tone when they lock horns in the ICC Champions Trophy here on Friday.

The pace attack of the Indian team impressed everyone in the practice match.

Mashrafe will not be drawing on the history of 2015 - or even the preceding World Cup when England advanced despite another defeat against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

"At no stage have we second-guessed ourselves or the direction that we're going in, and that's very powerful as a group I think".

"I think England will feel more pressure than us, because they want the trophy in a home tournament". This may turn out to be a good preparation, especially when followed by a couple of 50-over warm-up games to get the mindfully attuned to the longer version.

Besides Pakistan, India have Sri Lanka and South Africa in their Group B. It's exciting for cricket fans, but if you're not a cricket fan you can still appreciate the neat game Google has put up on the search page. I have always believed that when you play against Pakistan it is important to remove all the distractions from your mind.

Amid all the talks about the high-octane India-Pakistan encounter on June 4 for the ICC Champions Trophy, former Pakistan batsman Younis Khan has come forth in support of the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side. He, however, would not be able to cheer for either team India or Pakistan from the stands this time.

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. "Every player evolves. Take the example of Umesh Yadav. the way he has evolved since 2013. more mature, understands his bowling a lot more", he noted.

"My first choice is India, second choice is India and third choice is also India. You know, Stoinis did very well in New Zealand in the last series, and Hastings has done very well for us over in these conditions".

Mashrafe Mortaza: England a serious side but pressure is on hosts