Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has said India are far ahead of other teams at the moment and it will be very tough for Pakistan to beat them in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday. India and Pakistan reached the final of the elite tournament with victories over Bangladesh and England respectively.India and Pakistan have only met in one ICC final – the 2007 World Twenty20 showpiece, which was won by India. Pakistan have never won the Champions Trophy while India are a two-time winners.”I am seeing teams around the world and I see them the way they play and I see them desperate enough to win this tournament. But when I see India, I feel they have come on a mission to win this competition,” Sourav Ganguly told India Today in an exclusive chat.Virat Kohli once again proved his class with a fluent 96 not out to help India to a comfortable victory over Bangladesh in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy on Thursday.Kohli now averages 130.00 in successful chases in ICC tournaments. He also became the first player to aggregate 1000 runs in successful chases in the ICC events.The India skipper has so far scored 253 runs and has been dismissed only once in the ongoing tournament. He also became the quickest player to reach 8000 runs in ODIs.Harbhajan Singh said Kohli is a too good a player to match.”He’s a kind of a player who likes that kind of a pressure. Whenever there is pressure, Virat Kohli gets bigger than the pressure. He’s been tremendous, he has been brilliant not only with the run chases but with his responsibilities as well. He is too good a player to match,” Harbhajan said.advertisementWATCH FULL VIDEOGanguly also praised India’s collective performance on the field.”India are too far ahead. They have looked a solid team. No holes, no weaknesses in this Indian side. Yes in the past it was like, India have a strong batting line-up but the fast bowling people would say India are not good enough to pick wickets but Indian fast bowling has just been superb,” he said.Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma continued their rich vein of form as the duo struck a 87-run partnership against Bangladesh in the second semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston to power India to a nine-wicket win.”They set the Champions Trophy up for India. They did it last time as well. They have really been remarkable. Congratulations to Dhawan on becoming the highest run-getter,” Ganguly said.Dhawan, who now has 370 runs in the 2017 edition of the tournament, overtook Ganguly to become India’s highest scorer in the history of Champions Trophy.Dhawan, who played his first Champions Trophy tournament in 2013, took it by storm, slamming hundreds against South Africa and West Indies. Four years ago, he scored 363 runs from five matches as India went on to win the cup in style.”He has a final to go and a few more Champions Trophy to play in his career. He is a young boy and remarkable one day player. He will go a long way and his performances at world championships have been outstanding. Both him and Rohit Sharma have complimented each other,” Ganguly said.Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh also praised India top order and said India will have the psychological edge over Pakistan going into the final.”I have played with Shikhar, Rohit and Virat, they are brilliant players. In this era, they are the top batters to bowl to. Rohit is a class player, he reminds me of Inzamam-ul-Haq,” Harbhajan said.”When you keep beating one team again and again, you definitely have an advantage. Pakistan will hope to do better but India definitely have advantage,” Harbhajan said.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the squads for the upcoming four-day games against South Africa ‘A’ and the quadrangular series that followes thereafter involving India ‘A’, India ‘B’, South Africa ‘A’ and Australia ‘A’.The All-India Senior Selection Committee led by MSK Prasad met in Kolkata on Monday to pick the squads for the upcoming four-day games against South Africa ‘A’ and the quadrangular series.Shreyas Iyer will lead the side in two four-day games against South Africa ‘A’, with the first unofficial Test being played from August 4 in Bengaluru. The second will start on August 10 at the same venue.The side consists of big names including Team India ODI specialists Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel. Axar however, will only be available for the first unofficial Test and will be replaced by Shahbaz Nadeem in the second. Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel were also named in the India A squad for the two unofficial Tests vs South Africa (Reuters Photo)Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal, who impressed for India A in their tour of England, were also included in the side.Iyer will also captain the India ‘A’ side in the quadrangular series involving India ‘B’, South Africa ‘A’ and Australia ‘A’.Shaw, Ravikumar Samarth, Mohammed Siraj and Hanuma Vihari were retained in the ‘A’ side for the limited-overs format as well. On top of that, Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Nitish Rana, Mayank Markande, Krishnappa Gowtham, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Chahar were also named in the squad.advertisementManish Pandey will lead India ‘B’ and he is going to be joined by Mayank Agarwal, Siddarth Kaul, Shubhman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Ricky Bhui, Vijay Shankar and Ishan Kishan in the side along with other regular domestic performers.The quadrangular series begins on August 17 and ends on August 29, with all matches to be played in Vijaywada.The committee also picked the teams for the upcoming Duleep Trophy, 2018-19, which starts from August 17, 2018.Vidarbha captain Faiz Fazal, Tamil Nadu Abhinav Mukund and Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel will lead the three sides. Fazal will captain India Blue while Mukund and Parthiv will captain India Red and India Green respectively.The selection committee however, didn’t name the India ‘A’ squad for the four-day games against Australia ‘A’. They said that it will be announced soon.India ‘A’ squad for two four-day games against South Africa ‘A’: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, R Samarth, Mayank Agarwal, A.R. Easwaran, Hanuma Vihari, Ankit Bawne, K.S. Bharat (WK), Axar Patel (1st four-day game)/S. Nadeem (2nd four-day game), Y. Chahal, Jayant Yadav, R Gurbani, Navdeep Saini, Ankit Rajpoot, Md. SirajSquad for quadrangular series vs SA ‘A’ & Aus ‘A’India ‘A’: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, R Samarth, Suryakumar Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Sanju Samson (WK), Mayank Markande, K. Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Chahar, Md. Siraj, Shivam Mavi, Khaleel AhmedIndia ‘B’: Manish Pandey (Captain), Mayank Agarwal, A.R. Easwaran, Shubhman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Ricky Bhui, Vijay Shankar, Ishan Kishan (WK), Shreyas Gopal, Jayant Yadav, D.A. Jadeja, Siddarth Kaul, Prasidh Krishna, Kulwant Khejroliya, Navdeep SainiDuleep Trophy, 2018-19 squads:India Blue: Faiz Fazal (Captain), Abhishek Raman, Anmolpreet Singh, Ganesh Satish, N. Gangta, Dhruv Shorey, K.S. Bharat (WK), Akshay Wakhare, Saurav Kumar, Swapnil Singh, Basil Thampi, B Ayappa, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal KulkarniIndia Red: Abhinav Mukund (Captain), R.R. Sanjay, Ashutosh Singh, Baba Aparajith, Writtick Chatterjee, B. Sandeep, Abhishek Gupta (WK), S Nadeem, Mihir Hirwani, Parvez Rasool, R Gurbani, A Mithun, Ishan Porel, Y. Prithvi RajIndia Green: Parthiv Patel (Captain & WK), Prashant Chopra, Priyank Panchal, Sudeep Chatterjee, Gurkeerat Mann, Baba Indrajit, V.P. Solanki, Jajal Saxena, Karn Sharma, Vikas Mishra, K. Vignesh, Ankit Rajpoot, Ashok Dinda, Atith Sheth