INDIA will begin their ICC Champions Trophy title defence with a mouth-watering Group B clash against archrivals Pakistan in next year’s tournament in England.

Second in importance only to the World Cup and featuring the top eight teams in the world, the 2013 edition was supposed to be the last but the ICC decided it should continue.

The eighth tournament will feature 15 matches across three venues in England and Wales.

Hosts England will take on fast-improving Bangladesh in the June 1 opener, at The Oval, according to the fixture schedule announced yesterday.

India skipper MS Dhoni says: “Having won the event in 2013, we know how intense this event can be and we are under no illusion that it will be any different next year.”

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh

Group B: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.