Team profile: India
The World Champions have won the tournament once before, but that was on sub-continental conditions in 2002. They will strive to be only the second team, after Australia, to hold both the World Cup and Champions Trophy simultaneously. If they manage to achieve this feat, they will under-line their status as the best ODI team in the world.
The captaincy of MS Dhoni is one of India’s greatest strengths. He has a calming influence which will be vital in extracting the best out of his young squad.
Raw talent is the greatest strength in a team that has not been over-coached (a flaw often associated with England and South Africa). The talent is evenly distributed between the young batsmen and the spin bowlers, all of whom are very good limited overs players.
Similar to the other sub-continental teams, India have struggled to put together a squad that will flourish in the English conditions. Their best bowlers are undoubtedly the spinners who will receive very little help from the surfaces.
The other worry that team management must have is the lack of experience in the batting ranks. The days of Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag are sadly over and they have left very large shoes to fill. The likes of Kohli and Raina have all the talent in the world, but will be unfamiliar with the conditions. By the time the young batting order get accustomed to the foreign wickets, the tournament may already be over for the World Champions.
One to watch
He is young, talented and one of the most competitive men in the world of cricket. India will probably find themselves in the unenviable position of losing early wickets, and it will be up to Virat Kohlito dig them out of trouble. If India is going to compete in this tournament then Kohli is going to have to score heaps of runs.
It is clear by the amount of pace bowlers in the squad that some of them will sit out, but it is almost impossible to know who will miss out. The one unfortunate member of the squad who is sure to spend most of his time on the bench is Dhoni’s understudy, Dinesh Karthik. The only way that he will get a run is if one of the front line batsmen is injured and he is called up as a specialist batsman.
Last Three Tournament Finishers
2009: Group A exit to Australia
2006: Group A exit to Australia
2004: Group C exit to Pakistan
India are the current World Champions and therefore cannot be ignored. This however, is a very different Indian team to the one that conquered the world in 2010. The inexperience of the squad coupled with the alien conditions suggests that they will be making an early exit in the final installment of the Champions Trophy.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
6 June: v South Africa, Cardiff
11 June: v West Indies, London
15 June: v Pakistan, Birmingham