Watson: The Champions Trophy is 'very cut-throat'

Shane Watson (Getty Images)
Shane Watson (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson described the ICC Champions Trophy tournament as "cut-throat" by nature, as the tournament gets underway in June.

Watson, who is one of the ambassadors of the tournament, wrote a column for the ICC and said that he loves the ICC's secondary fifty over tournament for the "intense pressure" it brings.

With just three round robin games before the semi-finals, there is very little margin for error throughout the entire tournament and a momentary lapse in focus can cost a team dearly.

"The ICC Champions Trophy is another incredible opportunity as a cricketer to be able to test your skills under serious pressure of matches against the world's best players and teams," said Watson in his column.

"For me personally, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2009 was really the first time that I felt like I belonged to the international stage knowing that I was able to contribute in a strong way to my country winning the tournament."

Watson was part of the Australia teams that won the tournament in 2006 and 2009 to register their country's first wins in the showpiece.

"The ICC Champions Trophy in particular is a very cut-throat competition," he said.

"As a team, you have to hit the ground running as you really don't have much chance of a slip up.

"If your team does, then you have to be back at your best for the next big game, to give yourself the best chance of getting through to the next stage.

"These are the stakes that are riding on every game and this is what really excites all players as well as the fans who are watching the game. Knowing that if your team is slightly off, you could be heading home early and no one wants to be in that position."

Australia are grouped with England, New Zealand and Bangladesh and open their campaign against the Black Caps at Edgbaston on Friday, June 2.

Groups (based on teams' rankings as on September 30, 2015; x denotes seeding)

Group A                     
x-1 Australia               
x-4 New Zealand        
x-6 England               
x-7 Bangladesh          

Group B
x-2 India
x-3 South Africa
x-5 Sri Lanka
x-8 Pakistan

Event schedule:

Thursday, June 1 - England v Bangladesh, The Oval (d)
Friday, June 2 - Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (d)
Saturday, June 3 - Sri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (d)
Sunday, June 4 - India v Pakistan, Edgbaston (d)
Monday, June 5 - Australia v Bangladesh, The Oval (d/n)
Tuesday, June 6 - England v New Zealand, Cardiff (d)
Wednesday, June 7 - Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (d/n)
Thursday, June 8 - India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (d)
Friday, June 9 - New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (d)
Saturday, June 10 - England v Australia, Edgbaston (d)
Sunday, June 11 - India v South Africa, The Oval (d)
Monday, June 12 - Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (d)
Wednesday, June 14 - First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (d)
Thursday, June15 - Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (d)
Sunday, June 18 - Final, The Oval (d)
Monday, June 19 - Reserve day (d)

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