Dubai, April 12:
With exactly 50 days to go for the 2017 Champions Trophy, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday unveiled India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh as one of the eight champion ambassadors for the tournament to be staged at three iconic venues in England and Wales from June 1 to 18.
Besides Harbhajan, the other ambassadors are: Shahid Afridi of Pakistan, Bangladesh’s Habibul Bashar, Ian Bell of England, Shane Bond of New Zealand, Australia’s Mike Hussey, Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka and Graeme Smith of South Africa.
The eight ambassadors between them have played 1,774 One-Day Internationals (ODI), scoring 51,906 runs with 48 centuries, and taking 838 wickets.
The ambassadors will be involved in the ICC Champions Trophy Nissan Trophy Tour and will also make appearances in the United Kingdom as part of an inspiring programme aimed at providing school children with an opportunity to meet and play with a legend at the Cricket For Good coaching clinics.
After unveiling the eight legends, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “With 50 days to go to the Champions Trophy, we are delighted to announce these eight outstanding cricketers as our champion ambassadors. The programme will connect these greats of the game with a new generation of fans and players through our Cricket For Good project and leave a real lasting legacy for the sport.”
“The team will also bring great insight and expertise to fans via the ICC website and I’m sure we will all enjoy reading their analysis and opinions on 15 games during the Champions Trophy.”
The 36-year-old Harbhajan, who was a member of the India side which shared the 2002 trophy with Sri Lanka in Colombo, said: “To be appointed as an ambassador for a global event in which India will be the defending champion is one of the highs for me as a cricketer and something to be really proud of.”
“I look forward to playing my role to promote and publicise this thrilling and exciting ICC event, and will also closely follow India’s performance. I am confident that Team India will achieve greater heights and am sure that millions of fans back home will be following the side’s fortunes,” he added.