Jonathan Trott hopes England are ready to peak at the right time in the Champions Trophy final, to kickstart a great summer of cricket.
Trott will be a batting lynchpin against India on his home ground at Edgbaston tomorrow as England seek their first global one-day international trophy.
That is an enticing prospect in its own right after failure in world tournaments spread over almost 40 years.
With the first of two back-to-back Ashes series then set to start next month, and dominate the remainder of the summer, there is much for England and their supporters to look forward to. “You always have a little cheeky sneak at the fixtures, and where the final is going to be played, and I was very excited about getting here - and it’s happened,” said Trott, who has contributed 209 runs and counting to England’s cause in this event.
“It’s been a fantastic tournament for us, with regards to coming back from a loss against Sri Lanka. We had the high of beating Australia first up, and then the game against New Zealand – a tight one in the end, but I thought we played really well – and to beat South Africa at the Oval was a great performance.”
Trott believes it all points to a timely improvement. “I hope we are peaking. There’s obviously still a lot of cricket left this summer, and I hope it will be a great one for England.”
Victory this weekend will set it up perfectly, and Trott added: “To walk out at Edgbaston will be extra-special.
“For me personally, I’m very excited. It’s always fantastic for me, Ian Bell and Chris Woakes to play at Edgbaston – representing England is always a fantastic honour. The guys are looking to seize the opportunity. They don’t come around very often.”
While England begin tomorrow’s final with an empty cabinet after 16 previous attempts to win a premier 50-over tournament, India boast three already, a Champions Trophy shared with Sri Lanka in 2002 and the World Cups of 1983 and 2011. The nearest England have come is in four finals to date – the World Cups of 1979 (lost to West Indies), 1987 (lost to Australia), 1992 (lost to Pakistan) and the Champions Trophy of 2004 (lost to West Indies).
World champions India will start as favourites having won all their games in the tournament, including Thursday’s comprehensive eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the semi-finals.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has led his side to a point where they currently sit in the top three in the Test, ODI and Twenty20 rankings.
Shikhar Dhawan, the tournament’s top run scorer, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have all starred with the bat, with the bowling of Ishant Sharma, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav just as impressive.