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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 October 2006, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Six to watch
By Oliver Brett

Who has the capacity to thrill the crowds in India during the ICC Champions Trophy?

BBC Sport looks at the claims of five established stars, and a less heralded English player on his first senior tour.

Mahendra Dhoni

Frustrated by the indifferent form and frequent injuries of uber-hero Sachin Tendulkar in recent years, Indian fans have found new icons to fawn over.

Mahendra Dhoni

One of them is Dhoni, the team's wicket-keeper, who bats with the enthusiasm of a puppy on a beach and with no shortage of skill.

While female fans lap up his roguish smile and expensively-groomed hairdo, scorers work overtime to record the fours and sixes launched by his whirling blade.

In just his fifth one-dayer, against Pakistan, he cracked a dazzling 148 and followed that up with a colossal 183 not out against Sri Lanka.

Shahid Afridi

Nicknamed "Boom Boom" by Pakistan's fans, Afridi's strike-rate (108 runs per 100 balls faced) is even faster than Dhoni's.

Shahid Afridi

But while there have been some stunning displays - such as his 102 off 46 balls in Kanpur 18 months ago - his last 19 innings have yielded a best of 34.

Often a walking wicket in tough conditions, Afridi and his supporters will hope for some nice flat wickets in a country where he has a decent record.

Pakistan play no specialist spinners in one-day cricket, so Afridi's leg-spin - including a wicked faster ball - will be important.

Shane Bond

While England rugby star Jonny Wilkinson must feel cursed by his run of injuries, cricket's equivalent is Shane Bond.

Shane Bond

He obliterated Australia at Port Elizabeth in 2003 - though New Zealand ended up losing that match - but has played only fleetingly since then.

Such is his ability in one-day internationals, however, that despite his lack of cricket he is second in the world rankings, behind Shaun Pollock.

Kiwi fans will be grabbing every bit of wood that comes to hand after Bond announced he was "100% fit" for the Champions Trophy.

Michael Yardy

Oh my Lord... What's he doing here in such exalted company? Doesn't he spend his winters working in a sports store at Gatwick Airport?

Michael Yardy

Well, he used to. But Yardy, a major component of the Sussex success story of the last few years, is a skilled and resourceful cricketer.

He was drafted into England's side as a desperate measure during a summer when England had lost 5-0 to Sri Lanka and were 2-0 down to Pakistan.

Lo and behold, Yardy bowled skilfully and economically to take four vital wickets with his left-arm tweakers, and England levelled the series.

Glenn McGrath

It is well documented that the two Ashes Tests England won in the memorable summer of 2005 were the two "Glenda" missed because of injury.

Glenn McGrath

The Champions Trophy will give some indication what kind of shape the 36-year-old is in for the next instalment of cricket's oldest contest.

He has missed most of Australia's cricket this year to be with his sick wife, but will be looking to recapture his metronomic accuracy again.

His depth of knowledge makes McGrath a tough competitor. Woe betide any batsmen who thinks they have found a way of attacking him.

Kumar Sangakkara

Though Sri Lanka are burdened by pre-qualification, they are clearly one of the form teams, having hammered England 5-0 away from home.

Kumar Sangakkara

After the openers see off the new ball, Sangakkara - together with the brilliant Mahela Jayawardene - will look to build against the spinners.

Coach Tom Moody appears to have got the best out of Sangakkara, and the accomplished left-hander averages nearly 50 in ODIs in India.

The quality of his wicket-keeping to Muttiah Muralitharan - sometimes brilliant, he is also prone to gaffes - could be crucial for Sri Lanka.

SEE ALSO
Squad lists for Champions Trophy
05 Oct 06 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy team guide
05 Oct 06 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy ground guides
04 Oct 06 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2006
25 Sep 06 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
05 Jul 06 |  Cricket


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