Australia batsman Callum Ferguson believes Australia can retain the ICC Champions Trophy, but not without some stiff competition from the likes of Pakistan and South Africa. The 24-year-old South Australia batsman currently averages 47.25 with the bat having played 14 One-Day Internationals for his country and is looking forward to taking part in his first ICC event.
Who do you think are Australia's biggest threat to retaining the ICC Champions Trophy this year?

'It's obviously going to be a hot competition. Pakistan will be pretty confident I would have thought after their World Twenty20 win in England so they'll be inspired by that, no doubt and they'll take a lot of confidence from it. I think South Africa are going to be hard too. It's difficult to go past them and I think they're going to be a real contender and they'll no doubt come hard at us. I think they're [South Africa] probably the bench mark when it comes to the teams that Australia might compete against.'

Who do you think will be the most effective players for the tournament?

'I think it's hard to go past our skipper, Ricky Ponting. I think when it comes to the crunch and the big occasions he is one guy that has stood up for us in the past and I've got no doubt that he will be the player that does stand up for us in this Champions Trophy.

'I think that Shaun Marsh is one to watch. I've got a huge amount of respect for that guy with regards to his playing and the way he prepares for the games and I think as a young guy he's one that could really explode at this tournament.'

Do you think South Africa have a home advantage for this tournament along with those international players who were involved in the Indian Premier League?

'I think you have to note that the Australians have recently played a one-day series in South Africa so I'm sure we'll be relatively familiar with the conditions. The wickets in South Africa are quite similar to the Australian wickets so I'm sure we'll be well prepared leading into that.'

What do you find appealing about 50-over cricket?

'As a spectator it was always good fun when I was younger to get down to the oval and watch a whole day of cricket. I enjoy playing it because there are so many different phases to it, you've got your first 15 overs where there can be some fireworks and then through the middle overs there are the guys building their innings and beginning a launch later in the game with a PowerPlay, so you've got different phases to it and I think that's quite a great part of the 50-over format.'

What's important to remember with Australia coming into this tournament straight from the Ashes and one-day series in England?

'I think the basics is what you've got to go back to when you're playing in big games. If you can do that then a bit of flare will come into it too with a bit of natural instinct. I think if we can nail our basics in the field and then also with the bat and ball then I think that will be the key for us having a successful tournament.'

This will be your first ICC event, what are you looking forward to most about the ICC Champions Trophy?

'I think just the atmosphere of the tournament and having all the other nations there and around the area. I'm sure there will be a huge buzz around South Africa at the time but I'm just keen to soak up the whole atmosphere and experience.'

(Posted on 06 August 2009, 1675561443 3O236O138O35)