Champions Trophy 2013 June 4, 2013

India look to put cricket ahead of distractions

84

Overview

India hardly ever play big events without huge pressure of expectation on them. This Champions Trophy was to be different. The selectors had picked a young team, mostly based on performance and not past or promise. Surely this inexperienced team - picked with World Cup 2015 in mind - would go with less expectation, and thus less pressure? Surely, for once, India wouldn't be the focus of everything? We had another think coming. India will once again be the center of attention, this time unwanted and unfortunate. Wherever they go they will be asked questions, and they will have to show up for press conferences because this is an ICC event.

However, the cricket can't come soon enough. If the fan is indeed waiting to be reassured by MS Dhoni and his team, Dhoni's silence clearly says the reassurance will come the way they know best to give it: through playing cricket. It is difficult to imagine what state of mind the players are in, but it is fair to assume it is not easy. It is not going to be easy to play cricket, but the cricket field might be the place where they can possibly let go of the caginess, the unease, and whatever other emotions they have gone through, if at all.

This is not an easy tournament at the best of times. There are no looseners in the eight-team, two-group Champions Trophy format. You have to be better than at least two teams in your group of four to make it to the semi-final. It's a tricky format. And India have traditionally struggled to come terms with international cricket immediately after the IPL. It is a difficult time and a difficult tournament, but it is not unimaginable that the players are itching to go out and play.

Key player

If ever there was a time for a captain to make a statement on the field, this might be it for MS Dhoni. Off the field he has already shown helplessness when asked to speak about the controversies. The man under most pressure to quit his job, N Srinivasan, is also the man who saved Dhoni's captaincy last year, and also the managing director of the company Dhoni is a vice-president of, which is also the company that owns the IPL team that Dhoni captains.

It is possible that all this might not be a distraction for Dhoni at all. If it is a distraction, it is likely that Dhoni won't be affected once on the field. Once he does manage to put these things behind, Dhoni will have to make important decisions. He will have to sort out the opening combination first: India have used three different combinations in their last eight matches, and have dropped two of those openers. Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay are the specialists now, and Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik have opened before.

Then Dhoni has to decide between an allrounder and a specialist batsman for No. 7. And if he does pick the allrounder, he has to choose between Irfan Pathan, more suited to the conditions, and Ravindra Jadeja, the form man. And if he does pick Irfan, Dhoni will be left with two bowlers - Bhuvneshwar Kumar being the other - whom he will want to bowl out with the new ball. Then as a batsman, Dhoni will have to be the leader of the middle order in Yuvraj Singh's absence.

Surprise package

Shikhar Dhawan surprised the daylights out of not only Australia but observers in India on Test debut when he waltzed his way to 187. He has had an injury since then, recovered, made a decent comeback in the IPL, and will be crucial to India's plans. He is also one of the three left-hand batsmen in the squad.

Weakness

As always, the bowling. India's most exciting bowling prospect on this tour, Umesh Yadav, is a man with 51 international wickets, who is coming back from a stress reaction of the back. That says all you need to know about India's biggest weakness in international cricket.

Champions Trophy history

India's Champions Trophy high came in 2002 in Sri Lanka, when they shared the trophy with the hosts after both attempts at having a completed final were washed out. India also made it to the final in 2000 in Kenya, but lost to New Zealand. There hasn't been much to declare otherwise.

The last Champions Trophy was played in South Africa, in 2009. India had panicked so much by then they recalled Rahul Dravid two years after he had last played an ODI. It didn't help, though, and India lost the big first match to Pakistan. When their second match was washed out, their fate was left in the hands of other teams, and they didn't give India any favours.

Recent form

India's involvement in ODI cricket - keeping in with the trends worldwide - has gone down immensely. Since they finished third in the tri-series in Australia early last year, they have been involved in only four ODI events. The Asia Cup was a disaster, they then won against their bilateral punching bag Sri Lanka before losing to Pakistan and winning against England at home. Their three shoo-in openers are now not even part of the squad, the bowling has looked weak as ever, and they have entered the rebuilding phase, which they should have entered soon after the World Cup triumph in 2011.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shwet14 on June 5, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    It is absolutely vital to win the first game. India have shown form in both the practice games and they have many match winners who can chase big totals with Kohli and Kathik leading the way. If they can put it across SAF, they have a chance of qualifying. But SAF on the other hand would be spurred on to send Kirsten off with a trophy. its difficult to predict which Pakistan turns up on the match day. Their bowling can be devastating as was seen against Aus. WI too have some terrific players who can thrash the opposition. All in all , a very competitive group than the other one. Eng, Aus, NZ and SL is much inferior to Ind, Pak, WI, SAF. I predict the winner from the second group.

  • on June 6, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    India's depth in batting is scary-good and their bowling is pretty-good as well. I'd say on paper that they're the strongest team in the tournament and as long as conditions in England favour them with nice weather, they'll be very tough to beat.

    The Saffers are always resourceful, disciplined and organised, but without the vital experience of Kallis and Smith, the not so established players will have to step up. We all know the quality of Amla, DeVilliers, Steyn and Morkel, but you can't expect them to carry the rest of the team.

  • rsnl on June 6, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Its just starting of tournament and its hard to predict the winner. Cricket is such game of uncertainty and I am amazed that people are fighting here over their prediction.

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on June 6, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    How did India have a disastrous Asia Cup? We didn't reach the finals but we beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The bowling has looked weaker than ever? On the contrary, we've been getting to see a few new prospects emerge in the past couple of ODI series (especially Bhuvneshwar) and if Umesh comes to the party then things look nothing but good. Indian fans usually focus on the negatives than the positives but I didn't expect the writers to do that as well. Barring the loss to Pakistan, we have done really well in ODIs in the past year and the No. 1 ODI ranking proves it.

  • NP_NY on June 6, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    I am just a little bummed that Srilanka (India's easiest punching bag) is not in the same group as India. India's record against them in the last two years is 7-2. No wonder SL fans like @baseball-sucks can't stop talking about India in every comment they make.

  • on June 6, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    India won practice matches only because of 3 Batsmen... LOLLLLLL... Fellas, let's understand something well. 2-4 in-form batsmen are good enough to put up a competitive total on the board. With a very mediocre bowling unit, you can defend it too. Now tell me, what more do you need to win matches. India-haters.. Just live with the fact that all your respective teams have not stood up to the task whenever it mattered the most.

  • on June 6, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    What is good from India's point of view is that three of their batsmen have spent some time in the middle.Even Shikhar Dhawan was beginning to look good when he threw his wicket away with a reckless pull shot.If either of Dhawan or Vijay/Sharma can fire at the top of the order,it will make life much easier for Kohli,Karthik,Dhoni and Raina.In the bowling department,Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are expected to takesome early wickets,especially that of the prolific Hashim Amla to put pressure on their inexperienced middle order.If India win the toss and the pitch is similar to the one that they got in their last warmup game,they will look to bat first and put up a good score on the board.If they can score anywhere between 280-300,and take early wickets,it will be really difficult for the middle order to chase the total,as the Australians found out.No matter what kind of pitch is on offer,it is gonna be a mouthwatering contest.

  • moulik1995 on June 5, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    @VJGS: Funny how you say it came with pitches without any swing or movement yet the pitch against Australia in the warm up match was exactly that. And commenting on the fact that 'India's Bowling is the weakest at this current state of time' is just contradictory to what they did against Australia. 65 all out and their bowling is at its worst? I dont think India are the favorites but have a very good chance, I believe, in making the Semi Finals alongside Pakistan or South Africa.

  • mzm149 on June 5, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    India will be lucky if they somehow manage to beat West Indies. Pakistan and South Africa will reach the semi finals for sure. Umesh Yadav appears to be somewhat better among the bowling lot. Rest are quite erratic. Amla , de Villiers, Jamshed and Hafeez etc will completely smash them.

  • patsIndians on June 5, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    just play with 5 bowlers, as irfan,bhuvi & ashwin can bat a bit... it will be good see few more 65/10

  • shwet14 on June 5, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    It is absolutely vital to win the first game. India have shown form in both the practice games and they have many match winners who can chase big totals with Kohli and Kathik leading the way. If they can put it across SAF, they have a chance of qualifying. But SAF on the other hand would be spurred on to send Kirsten off with a trophy. its difficult to predict which Pakistan turns up on the match day. Their bowling can be devastating as was seen against Aus. WI too have some terrific players who can thrash the opposition. All in all , a very competitive group than the other one. Eng, Aus, NZ and SL is much inferior to Ind, Pak, WI, SAF. I predict the winner from the second group.

  • on June 6, 2013, 10:44 GMT

    India's depth in batting is scary-good and their bowling is pretty-good as well. I'd say on paper that they're the strongest team in the tournament and as long as conditions in England favour them with nice weather, they'll be very tough to beat.

    The Saffers are always resourceful, disciplined and organised, but without the vital experience of Kallis and Smith, the not so established players will have to step up. We all know the quality of Amla, DeVilliers, Steyn and Morkel, but you can't expect them to carry the rest of the team.

  • rsnl on June 6, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Its just starting of tournament and its hard to predict the winner. Cricket is such game of uncertainty and I am amazed that people are fighting here over their prediction.

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on June 6, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    How did India have a disastrous Asia Cup? We didn't reach the finals but we beat Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The bowling has looked weaker than ever? On the contrary, we've been getting to see a few new prospects emerge in the past couple of ODI series (especially Bhuvneshwar) and if Umesh comes to the party then things look nothing but good. Indian fans usually focus on the negatives than the positives but I didn't expect the writers to do that as well. Barring the loss to Pakistan, we have done really well in ODIs in the past year and the No. 1 ODI ranking proves it.

  • NP_NY on June 6, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    I am just a little bummed that Srilanka (India's easiest punching bag) is not in the same group as India. India's record against them in the last two years is 7-2. No wonder SL fans like @baseball-sucks can't stop talking about India in every comment they make.

  • on June 6, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    India won practice matches only because of 3 Batsmen... LOLLLLLL... Fellas, let's understand something well. 2-4 in-form batsmen are good enough to put up a competitive total on the board. With a very mediocre bowling unit, you can defend it too. Now tell me, what more do you need to win matches. India-haters.. Just live with the fact that all your respective teams have not stood up to the task whenever it mattered the most.

  • on June 6, 2013, 2:03 GMT

    What is good from India's point of view is that three of their batsmen have spent some time in the middle.Even Shikhar Dhawan was beginning to look good when he threw his wicket away with a reckless pull shot.If either of Dhawan or Vijay/Sharma can fire at the top of the order,it will make life much easier for Kohli,Karthik,Dhoni and Raina.In the bowling department,Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are expected to takesome early wickets,especially that of the prolific Hashim Amla to put pressure on their inexperienced middle order.If India win the toss and the pitch is similar to the one that they got in their last warmup game,they will look to bat first and put up a good score on the board.If they can score anywhere between 280-300,and take early wickets,it will be really difficult for the middle order to chase the total,as the Australians found out.No matter what kind of pitch is on offer,it is gonna be a mouthwatering contest.

  • moulik1995 on June 5, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    @VJGS: Funny how you say it came with pitches without any swing or movement yet the pitch against Australia in the warm up match was exactly that. And commenting on the fact that 'India's Bowling is the weakest at this current state of time' is just contradictory to what they did against Australia. 65 all out and their bowling is at its worst? I dont think India are the favorites but have a very good chance, I believe, in making the Semi Finals alongside Pakistan or South Africa.

  • mzm149 on June 5, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    India will be lucky if they somehow manage to beat West Indies. Pakistan and South Africa will reach the semi finals for sure. Umesh Yadav appears to be somewhat better among the bowling lot. Rest are quite erratic. Amla , de Villiers, Jamshed and Hafeez etc will completely smash them.

  • patsIndians on June 5, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    just play with 5 bowlers, as irfan,bhuvi & ashwin can bat a bit... it will be good see few more 65/10

  • Narbavi on June 5, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    Oh Sid, did i just see that india had a disastrous asia cup? we beat pakistan and srilanka and lost to bangladesh after making 290, we were tied on same points as bangladesh and pakistan and were so unlucky to miss out on the finals

  • Narbavi on June 5, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks: If india has no chance then i don't what chance does India's punching bags as mentioned in this article have in this tournament

  • Cpt.Meanster on June 5, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    So many cynics here make my head crack open with laughter. I can't wait to see these same people cry out of frustration once India enters the semi finals and then goes on to win the tournament. I cannot wait for that to happen. Pakistan favourites ? HAHAHA tell me a better joke. England and Australia favourites ? Please don't even bother. How about India, NZ, WI and SA ? Now those could be the semifinalists for all I know. Can't wait to see India smash everyone in this tournament. I am usually very good in predicting things and I am pretty confident about India's chances in this tournament irrespective of what Cricinfo says.

  • 6Stumps on June 5, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    Just loved this line - "won against their bilateral punching bag Sri Lanka". None could have said it better, not even the the most jingoistic of fans. LOL

  • Tal_Botvinnik on June 5, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    @GRVJPR LOL funny the author is indian, maybe he understands india's situation more than you due to years of working in cricinfo.

  • pkXI on June 5, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    World Champions? The Dallas Mavericks were also champions in the NBA (Basketball if you don't now) in 2011. 2012 they weren't even close. It's been 2 years since the the "World Champions" have been "champions". They could have changed. Don't get too overjoyed and cocky about these things, you never know.

  • VJGS on June 5, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    I don't understand most of the criticism directed at the author of the articles in the comment section. India may be the current #1 in the ODIs and have won the WC in 2011, but there is no denying that their performance has been falling rapidly. They won the 2 warm up games only because of 3 batsmen - Dhoni, Kohli and Karthik. But that too came only in pitches without much swing or movement. When has India really won convincingly in English or Australian conditions against quality bowling attack? And that was the India with the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Tendulkar and Yuvraj in their ranks. In the current team, the senior-most player is Dhoni, who despite what he did against Australia, will be under huge pressure because of the off-field things that are surrounding him. Also, Yadav and Bhuvi show great promise, but India's bowling is extremely weak without the experience of Zaheer or Harbhajan

  • on June 5, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    You all write off India, but we will win this and are clear favorites. Haven't you seen the warm up matches? Author should have considered that too when compiling this article. This is the first time, India is facing an ICC tournament with full confidence. Two wins changed the color of the competition all together.

  • on June 5, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    India displayed a nice game in both warm up matches ... Dhoni is the key factor and pak bowling will decide where they stand but cant ignore WI ... they can bang the opposition

  • GRVJPR on June 5, 2013, 13:35 GMT

    Funny article, I can't stop laughing. The current world champions, the current number 1 team has no chance according to author. Oh My God! I can't stop laughing. Who has written this hilarious piece. It also means other teams can't even play cricket. My stomach is paining with laughter!

  • Mafazrainafan on June 5, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    Indian 11 on flat/slow wickets Dhawan vijay kohli raina karthik DHONI Jadeja Ashwin Bhuvi yadav Ishant

    Green pitches. Rohit vijay kohli raina karthik DHONI Pathan Ashwin Bhuvi yadav Ishant

    Fast wickets with little swing ... Dhawan vijay kohli raina DHONI karthik Jadeja Ashwin Bhuvi Ishant yadav

    Vinay Kumar will be useful for carrying drinks...... Mishra should be used against West Indies instead of jadeja

  • Aaranya on June 5, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    It will be Vijay, Dhawan, Kohli, Karthik, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvanesh, Ishant, Umesh............

  • GRVJPR on June 5, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    When a author puts up Image of No 1 ODI team in world so negatively, I wonder what will happen to teams below them.

  • DPENRAW on June 5, 2013, 13:24 GMT

    NO matter who comes to play for INDIA They are not going to make to the semifinals....

  • GRVJPR on June 5, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    Hillarious to say the least. MSD recieves the award for number 1 ODI team in world. He is the captain of current world champions and author is making it look as if India hasn't won a single match for last 20 years. I am SPEECHLESS!

  • A.Ak on June 5, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    @Krunal Patel - Virat is the key player. There is no need mention about him again and again. He is the best ODI player in the world right now. Why people are so annoyed about CSK? is it because they are winning ?

  • shouvicic on June 5, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    The opening is going to be a big concern. The kind of form which Vijay has shown in the last two matches, its never going to be wise to put him in the first XI. But, he has been in the list of Dhoni's favorite. With 2 consecutive hundreds in the middle order by Karthik, it will be risky to slot him onto the opening pair. Rohit Sharma(the IPL KING :P) has hardly performed on the international level, so even he won't be a great option in the top order. Kohli, Karthik and Dhoni are going to e the key players in the Indian batting line up. The Indian youngster but inexperienced bowling package is promising but not reliable. but lot of expectation are set on Bhuwaneshwar and Umesh. Hit the deck or get hit.

  • A.Ak on June 5, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    Rohit Sharma was in tremendous form in the IPL, so he was selected to the national team. I have seen this five times before. The rest is history. He had got too many opportunities. Other players deserves some. There is a difference between Talent and performance. India should open with specialist openers and D Karthik come in the place of Rohit.

  • bradmannn on June 5, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    is this a inexperienced squad? are u joking only opening batting is inexperienced otherwise very much an experienced middle order with raina-159 odis, kohli-98 odis, dhoni-219 odis, rohit-88 odis, even dinesh kartik played 52 odis only bowling inexperienced how can u say middle order batting inexperienced, india has way experienced middle order than england, australia and southafrica

  • sichu_emerald on June 5, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    Oh here comes again the great grand H.H.Sir Baseball-sucks like another one called BDforever with his extraordinary masterpiece so-called "healthy" critics. Wherever the news about Team India be, these guys are of automatic choices to get their place in cricinfo to cirticize us. Whats your problem with you guys if India wins or looses. Guys, give us a break, and better look at your respective teams rather commenting on the problems which is left ONLY for us to address instead...

  • on June 5, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Shikhar Dhawan: Another one Test match wonder? Hope not! None of us want him to follow the footsteps of a Jassu Patel, or a Narender Hirwani . The latter is a lesser exemplifier, unlke Jassu -- who is the "best" one test match wonder, who emerged a great hero in the dust bowl of Kanpur (of those days, and disappeared in the same dust, pretty soon)

  • cjchanaka on June 5, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    India is an overrated team, but they have a chance to win 1st match only. Pak & SA will go through semis in GB, SL & NZ or AUS in GA.

  • satishchandar on June 5, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    Wow.. That was quite a great article in the part "Recent form" for the No.1 ranked ODI team in the world!! Isn't it?

  • maddy20 on June 5, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    @ Baseball-Sucks Mr.Dobell agrees that SL is gonna be a flop show, again. As he bluntly put it SL is our bilateral punching bag and I couldn't agree more. For a team that has not won a single game in Aus, Won 1 in England, SA in the past 32 years of test cricket, these SL fans do think very highly of their players. You know there is only one team that was beaten by all the other teams in the Asia Cup, and no prizes for guessing which team that is!

  • on June 5, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    DInesh should open with Rohit Sharma.. Even though Rohit is not in form , he is a classy player. He can be dangerous.! 1st down should be Shikhar Dhawan..

  • MAYURESHmagic on June 5, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Karthik, Dhoni, Jadeja/Ashwin, Pathan, Bhuvneshwar, Umesh, Ishant

  • koushik2412 on June 5, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    i would love to have pujara at opening slot. he can hold up one end score freely without loosing the wicket after he settles in.

  • realfan on June 5, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    my team would be DK, Shikar, VK, Raina,Dhoni, SIR Jaddu, Pathan, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Yadav, Ishant....

    no place for rohit or even vijay... i added DK in place of vijay and irfan in place of Rohit.. i am sure irfan can bat better than rohit....

  • on June 5, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    When the India's squad for CT was announced I was very surprised to see Shami Ahmed missing out.He adequately swings the ball,seams it and more importantly bowls a tight line.I say importantly because on a flat wicket,like the one in Birmingham,we saw how the bowlers were found wanting not being able to maintain the line and length required on such a wicket.Yes one could argue that India has a batting lineup that matches the best on a flat track but on such tracks it is the toss that proves more crucial and the match is decided by good bowling performances and that is were I feel Shami Ahmed along with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar(who had an off day against Sri Lanka) could hav brought some sanity when the others were leaking runs.Also the use of two new balls and his adequate death bowling only serve to strengthen his case.It was also equally shocking when he played very few IPL matches for KKR.

  • on June 5, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    2 things are going to be absolutely vital. Opening batting combination and death bowling. For that reason I dont see the use of a make shift opener.Anyone taking about using Rohit as the makeshift opener needs to watch the reply of his dismissal against Australia. Vinay Kumar is one of the better death bowlers in the squad. I cant imagine Buvi/Ishant bowling in the death. The flexibility of having 6 bowlers (Including partimers or allrounders) was well used by all the top teams in IPL.

    My Squad will be Dhavan,M.Vijay,Kohli,Karthik,Dhoni,Jadeja,Bhuvaneshwar/Irfan,Aswin,Ishant,Vinay Kumar,Umesh Yadav.

  • on June 5, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    "Vinay kumar will remain the drinks man throughout the tournament... " - priceless!! My day is made

  • Thyagu5432 on June 5, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    What is it about Rohit that suddenly everybody wants him to play? All along he was considered to be the one getting unfairly large number of opportunities. Vijay last played ODI in 2011. He just made a come back and has had 2 bad innings (but still better than Rohit) but there seems to be hatred for him. Remember, when he made test comeback, he started off with 2 flop innings and then followed up with 3 brilliant innings (one on a square turner). I think Vijay deserves to be in the playing 11 than Rohit. Rest of the positions are automatically taken.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on June 5, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    vijay did well against australia so hopes will do the same in ct13. Rohit has played more than 70 odis but vijay played less than 10 odis so rohit has more flops in international odi's than vijay (and he dererves a chance bcz of his performances against oz) . so i dont think rohit ll get a chance in playing 11 and since vijay selected as specialist opener he is going to open tmrw. If vijay doesn't deserve a place in playing 11 then dhawan too doesn't so as rohit. Even if vijay performs well, Vijay bashers ll continuing to bash him.

  • realfan on June 5, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks : good try, now go and look after your team... i saw some morale boosting messages to srilankan fans in other article... if you can do that to srilankan team, please have some time and be with them, coz they ain't going to go any further in this tournament.....now you said nepal , hongkong?? yes you are right, they are miles ahead of your mediocre bowling unit....and yes bangladesh , or even kenya is enough to beat you.....

  • sachin_vvsfan on June 5, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    @Baseball-Sucks better worry about your own SL team that keeps losing to our mediocre team. We shall see if India really finishes at bottom in our group but you better pray that your team does not meet us in this tournament because you very well know who is going to win.

  • on June 5, 2013, 10:53 GMT

    Rohit sharma would be a better opener keeping M Vijay aside. DK is more comfortable with his middle order postition. Pathan/Jadeja could be given chances based on the pictch conditions.

  • KaptainKool on June 5, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    My Playing XI that would play against SA is

    Shikhar,Vijay,Kohli,Karthik,Dhoni,Raina,Jadeja,Ashwin,Bhuvi,Yadav,Ishant

    I guess its one last chance for Murli, if he fails Rohit comes in his place for next match. Pathan or Mishra for Ashwin can be considered depending on opposition and playing conditions.

    Vinay kumar will remain the drinks man throughout the tournament...

  • on June 5, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    Shikhar, Irfan, Kohli, DK, Rohit, Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin, Bhuvi, Ishant, Umesh

  • deep6321 on June 5, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    Whatever the end result of CT is ...But at this time Indian team looks better than all other teams except their opening pair.India could have the strongest team had they selected rahane and Gambhir instead of Vijay and Dhawan.... I would like to beg to indian selectors to please Vinay for the rest of his life.

  • deepu4114 on June 5, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Dhawan and Karthik should open keeeping Vijay out of the team for ever. Not a deserved player for India team.

  • deepu4114 on June 5, 2013, 10:14 GMT

    Eager to see Vijay out of palying XI. I strongly believe he dont deserve to be in to the squad. Dhoni has to keep aside CSK feeling and make a good XI member team

  • deepu4114 on June 5, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    I dont undestand why murali vijay is picked in to the squad keeping Rahane out.

  • on June 5, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    @bball ya india is the same ordaniry team which beats your lankan team black nd blue on all kinds of pitches!!

  • deep6321 on June 5, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    @ Baseball-Sucks sucks :India is going to win the trophy even though they have a world's worst opening pair.

  • AntoRaj2013 on June 5, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    My Team

    Dhawan, Karthik, Kohli, Rohit, Raina, MS, Jadeja, Ashwin, B Kumar, Yadav, Ishant

  • on June 5, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    best possible XI Pathan, dhawan, kohli, karthik, raina, Dhoni, Jadeja, Aswin, yadav, ishant, Kumar..

  • on June 5, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    My Teams...

    Fast Pitches: Rohit, Shikhar, Virat, DK, Raina, MSD, SRJ, Pathan, Umesh, Ishant, Bhuvi

    Slower Pitches: Rohit, Shikhar, Virat, DK, Raina, MSD, SRJ, Ashwin, Umesh, Vinay, Bhuvi

    Drinks: Murali Vijay

  • Massey_T on June 5, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    baseball sucks, keep dreaming !. Your facts are shockingly skewed to suit your green conclusions. I know these Indians have won many a times in England be it major tournaments or bilateral series. Even as an aussie supporter, I would have to tell you that you are as your family name suggests. Sorry about that lol or maybe you just want to provoke em indians, nice try though, though not good enough to lure most of us, indians or not. We know the facts and the victories by most teams.

  • ramli on June 5, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    Ashwin's role in ODIs is to do the containing job and possibly break partnerships ... his statistics amply shows that he has been doing that effectively ... more than Irfan in latest times for sure

  • on June 5, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Are you kidding me? under key plays you mention everyone else except their biggest key player who goes by the name of Virat Kohli. That player who can bat under any conditions and can win a game for india chasing 300+ in even under 40 overs. This is pretty funny. Did a CSK reporter right this preview? For India it comes down to Virat Kohli or bust in this type of tournament without any of the old stars.

  • satishchandar on June 5, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    Dhawan MUST open with one :-) I wouldn't worry too much who his partner is as the partner is nothing but a eyewash.. Two options left in Rohit and Vijay are equally bad in international stage and with expectations of failure everytime they walk into the park.. So two slots over.. Followed by Virat, DK, Raina, MSD, RJ as top 7.. As for the 4 bowlers, Ashwin picks himself as lead spinner.. Personally would treat Ashwin as a all rounder and play three big pace bowlers in Vinay, Umesh and Bhivi instead of Irfan.. If the track offers more tinge of green and conditions look to aid pace bowling, i would prefer Irfan over RJ at 7..

    What are the odds to open with Irfan and continue the 11 with RJ in at 7? Doesn't it look good enough? Pathan if clicks can add more value to the team as opener.. And he would be as good as Vijay or Rohit even if it is a failed attempt..

  • Baseball-Sucks on June 5, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    To be brutally honest, India is an ordinary team that comprises 11 players who struggle a lot with the pace as well as the bounce. But the hype around this mediocre team is off the roof. LOL Its beyond insane even to think that they will make it to the semis let alone winning the trophy. Their top order is very consistent in failing in every match. lol Its a waste of time to talk about their bowling department, must be the worst bowling attack in the word. Even Nepal or Hong Kong or USA can muster a far better bowling unit with their limited resources. Their past records in England are disgraceful. They have won only 3 matches outta 12 past matches in England. I think Bangladesh deserve to take the India's place in the CT. Dhawan has proved that he is a one match wonder FTB. So He is as good as flop Vijay. LOL. And Raina gets the middle stump uprooted behind his legs. Rohit Sharma is going Nohit Sharma as usual. DK is gonna be a failure as we've seen in the IPL. G'luck !!!

  • Resultpredictor on June 5, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    India is the favourite team to win the CT. Dhoni has won all the tournaments in cricket as captain except CT and this time surely Dhoni will lead India to Victory in CT. As Captain Dhoni lead India to both World Cup victories, Asia Cup. VB series, natwest series, tri series and many bilateral series. And as Captain of CSK, Dhoni lead CSK to IPL title and also won Champions league T20. Dhoni is the best captain ever in the history of cricket. If India wins CT then Dhoni will surely become the legend.

  • black_bird on June 5, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    it is a walking trophy for india as i can see. they folded aus under 70. that's enough to become champion.

  • Haleos on June 5, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    The choice should not be between Irfan and Jadeja. Both should be played leaving Ashwin out. He is not very effective outside India. Heck he does not even do well in India in limited overs. Add to that his fielding. Pathan and Jadeja would not do worse than him and will add more firepower to the batting and fieldng. But I guss pathan will miss out as Ashwin plays for you know who.

  • Haleos on June 5, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    @Siddhart - You said "The selectors had picked a young team, mostly based on performance and not past or promise.". How can you justify Murli Vijay in ODI team based on Test performances? He is below average player in limited overs. In tests too he came good in only that Australia series. Anyway, good luck Team India. Let your game do the talking.

  • Amar255 on June 5, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    My Team

    Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli, Raina, Karthik, MS, Jadeja, Ashwin, B Kumar, Yadav, Ishant / Vinay (Based on conditions)

  • on June 5, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    My XI for CT from the squad selectors chose :

    Karthik,Dhawan,Kohli,Dhoni,Rohit,Raina,Irfan/Jadeja ( Depends on pitch and conditions),Ashwin,Bhuvi,Yadav,Ishant/Mishra ( Again based on need).

    In my view Rahane should have been in XV instead of Vijay and Yuvi should be there in XI every time and Please drop Vinay Kumar ( We have Bhuvi and Irfan for swing bowler role).

  • venutt on June 5, 2013, 7:06 GMT

    Mr. Monga, how does Rohit feature in the squad if the selection was not based on past or promise? I am a fan of cricinfo.com but its sad that from a few authors like you, we get personal biased opinions and not facts on certain players. Anyways, all the best India. This time Champions trophy will mean something for team India.

  • on June 5, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Though India succeeded in both of its warm-up with thumping wins but it's too early to predict them as the semi finalist. The common stand out batsman in both the matches was only Karthik, Kohli & Dhoni can be said to be cooperated well with him in the respected matches. Unfortunately we can't say such for other batsman and this is the main concern. Bowlers struggled with SL and allow them to make score over 6+ while in the second partly because of the pressure of the scoreboard due to Karthink & Dhoni's brilliance and Umesh's performance we reached to victory. So one can say that Kohli, Karthik, Dhoni & Umesh are the only stars shines upto now & honestly apart from Kohli we can't label any of them as reliable. India also don't get the chance to play with any of their group opponent, whereas Pakistan was lucky in this manner, they put a up a great show, of course. Even Pathan consistency is not there. All in all India have to do a lot better then warm up's.

  • thinkgood on June 5, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    As long as the media keeps shut and let the Indian team play cricket, Indian team might very well win the trophy

  • on June 5, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    The Asia Cup was a disaster? I hardly think so. We convincingly beat sri lanka and gunned down a massive score against Pak. We only lost one game against bangladesh for sachin's 100th 100 (no disrespect to sachin but he was seriously nervous and scratchy and slowed the momentum). Had we won that game we were in the finals and might have as well won. Apart from the pakistan debacle our ODI cricket has been consistently good. Even in Australia we would have made it to the finals had it not been for a five ball over in a tied game.

  • snbirdi on June 5, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    Sid, I have to say I'm surprised at how bleak you make India sound in this overview. Not one sentence up there gives the team even a small fighting chance. The selection this time around was one of the best there's been in a long time and if the warm-ups are any indication, India is going to be the team to beat.

  • on June 5, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    asia cup was a disaster??IND won 2 out of 3 and these experts still call it as disaster....

  • on June 4, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    disagree completely. India's weakness is an inexperienced top order. Only Kholi from top 4 has played in England before. Vijay struggled in South Africa, and Dhawan struggled in WI.

  • Harmony1111 on June 4, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    Whatever the way distractions go India will have to go home after group stage matches.

  • ADARSH100 on June 4, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Team played well in warm up. But that doesnt mean its easy to win other matches. Hope VK,MSD,DK and Raina cme to form. Opening is still a concern and as mentioned above " BOWLING ".

    its ridiculous luking at warmup results. Australia, SouthAfrica and England were the favorites considering the pitches they get. The England pitches favours them. But England lost to Newzealand twice. Australia lost to India and Southafrica failed to Pakistan. LOL :P

  • xylo on June 4, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    It is funny to see people saying that the team should have entered the rebuilding phase after the WC triumph in 2011, but not questioning the place of Sachin Tendulkar in the ODI squad after the World Cup. Let's not forget what caused the Asia Cup disaster.

  • on June 4, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    B.Kumar:Swings both ways, Umesh:Quick, Pathan:Deadly Inswing/Outswing and slower bowls, Ishant:Tall, Unpredictable, Vinay: Yorkers, Bouncers, Ashwin: Classic Spnner, Jadeja: Left Arm Off-Spin but unreadable on turning pitches. Question: Where or what is the weakness in bowling? Was it always Indias lame excuse?

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    One thing is certain. Dinesh just can't be ignored, with his current form. Both Vijay & Dhawan look shaky. I would take the risk of opening with Dinesh & Kohli.

    Dinesh was opener along with Dhoni during the under 19 days. And, both used to do well as openers.With Sehwag or Gambhir falling too early, so often in recent times, Kohli had been effectively an opener for many matches. So, adjusting to the new role won't be a great problem for these two; who are also in good form.

    (Incidentally, if either or both see off the new ball, they will also have more overs to play. The men in form should always get more balls to face.)

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Hope Shikhar Dhawan is not going to be a "one test match wonder". AS Jassu Ptel once upon was with-a-one-match wonder performance at Kanpur. And Later Hirwani with a one-match-wonder performance at Chennai.

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    my pick would be 1.Shikhar dhawan 2.pathan 3 kohli 4 karthik 5 raina 6 dhoni 7 jadeja 8 ashwin 9 vinay lumar 10 bhuvi 11 yadav

  • Baseball-Sucks on June 4, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    India have no chance of making it to the semis. They have a fragile top order or lets say flop order. Bowlers are club standard. lol They are gonna end up in the bottom of the group B. G'luck !!!

  • KingofSwag on June 4, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    I think that India have a very good chance of getting to the final in this tournament, based on todays peformance against Australia, considering the form that Shane Watson is on, and India got him for 4, does not at all mean that their bowling is weak . Pakistan are almost a shoo-in to get into the finals on these turfs, so I am predicting an India vs Pakistan final, with a tense finish, I have a feeling Pakistan will win but, as an Indian fan, I will not count India out at any point in this tournament (unless of course they are knocked out).

  • KingofSwag on June 4, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    I think that India have a very good chance of getting to the final in this tournament, based on todays peformance against Australia, considering the form that Shane Watson is on, and India got him for 4, does not at all mean that their bowling is weak . Pakistan are almost a shoo-in to get into the finals on these turfs, so I am predicting an India vs Pakistan final, with a tense finish, I have a feeling Pakistan will win but, as an Indian fan, I will not count India out at any point in this tournament (unless of course they are knocked out).

  • Baseball-Sucks on June 4, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    India have no chance of making it to the semis. They have a fragile top order or lets say flop order. Bowlers are club standard. lol They are gonna end up in the bottom of the group B. G'luck !!!

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    my pick would be 1.Shikhar dhawan 2.pathan 3 kohli 4 karthik 5 raina 6 dhoni 7 jadeja 8 ashwin 9 vinay lumar 10 bhuvi 11 yadav

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Hope Shikhar Dhawan is not going to be a "one test match wonder". AS Jassu Ptel once upon was with-a-one-match wonder performance at Kanpur. And Later Hirwani with a one-match-wonder performance at Chennai.

  • on June 4, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    One thing is certain. Dinesh just can't be ignored, with his current form. Both Vijay & Dhawan look shaky. I would take the risk of opening with Dinesh & Kohli.

    Dinesh was opener along with Dhoni during the under 19 days. And, both used to do well as openers.With Sehwag or Gambhir falling too early, so often in recent times, Kohli had been effectively an opener for many matches. So, adjusting to the new role won't be a great problem for these two; who are also in good form.

    (Incidentally, if either or both see off the new ball, they will also have more overs to play. The men in form should always get more balls to face.)

  • on June 4, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    B.Kumar:Swings both ways, Umesh:Quick, Pathan:Deadly Inswing/Outswing and slower bowls, Ishant:Tall, Unpredictable, Vinay: Yorkers, Bouncers, Ashwin: Classic Spnner, Jadeja: Left Arm Off-Spin but unreadable on turning pitches. Question: Where or what is the weakness in bowling? Was it always Indias lame excuse?

  • xylo on June 4, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    It is funny to see people saying that the team should have entered the rebuilding phase after the WC triumph in 2011, but not questioning the place of Sachin Tendulkar in the ODI squad after the World Cup. Let's not forget what caused the Asia Cup disaster.

  • ADARSH100 on June 4, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Team played well in warm up. But that doesnt mean its easy to win other matches. Hope VK,MSD,DK and Raina cme to form. Opening is still a concern and as mentioned above " BOWLING ".

    its ridiculous luking at warmup results. Australia, SouthAfrica and England were the favorites considering the pitches they get. The England pitches favours them. But England lost to Newzealand twice. Australia lost to India and Southafrica failed to Pakistan. LOL :P

  • Harmony1111 on June 4, 2013, 21:54 GMT

    Whatever the way distractions go India will have to go home after group stage matches.

  • on June 4, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    disagree completely. India's weakness is an inexperienced top order. Only Kholi from top 4 has played in England before. Vijay struggled in South Africa, and Dhawan struggled in WI.