Champions Trophy 2017: India – Strengths and Weaknesses

Defending champions India are one of the favourites to win the coveted ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which starts in England and Wales from June 1. The Men in Blue are currently ranked number three in the world and possess one of the best squads which is more than capable of firing them to their second trophy in as many editions of the tournament.
Here is a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian Team and who could be their possible trump card.
India skipper Virat Kohli likes to lead from the front and he always tries to set an example for his troops to follow. Under his stewardship, India have won 16 out of 20 matches played in One-Day Internationals.
Kohli once again holds the key for India to score big runs, however, his record has been less impressive with the bat in England compared to his very high standards otherwise. In 14 matches that Kohli has played in English conditions, the right-hander has scored 424 runs which includes one century. However, his average dips from 53.1 to 38.3 on England soil.
After a less than impressive Indian Premier League campaign, Kohli will be eager to change his underwhelming record in England during the Champions Trophy.
Taking into consideration their performances in the recently-concluded IPL, India will be hopeful of the pacers doing well in the Champions Trophy. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (26 wickets), Jasprit Bumrah (20 wickets) and Umesh Yadav (17 wickets) did exceptionally well for their respective teams with the ball.
While Bhuvi was the go-to man for Hyderabad, Bumrah did his reputation no harm by ruling the roost as far as death overs are concerned and eventually played a starring role in Mumbai’s title-winning campaign. While Umesh ended the campaign as the leading wicket-taker for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The form of the pacers augurs well for the Indian team as in seaming conditions of England, these players are more than capable of replicating their IPL form on the international arena.
The form of Indian all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya will certainly please skipper Virat Kohli. While Jadeja proved to be instrumental in a glorious Test season at home in the past 10 months, Pandya showed his prowess in the limited overs format in the IPL for Mumbai Indians (250 runs and 6 wickets).
Jadeja was the star with the ball in the last edition of the Champions Trophy, which was played in England and that will be inspiration enough for the southpaw. In the 12 matches that he played in the home of the three lions, Jadeja has slammed 266 runs at an average of of 88. While he has also scalped 23 wickets in those matches.
A major cause of concern for India will be the fitness of star bowling duo Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami. While Ashwin missed the entire IPL due to an injury, Shami played 8 matches for Delhi Daredevils but his form was less than impressive to say the least (picked up 5 wickets and gave away 243 runs in 26 overs).
Ashwin remains crucial for India’s title defence but he hasn’t bowled a single delivery in a competitive match since the Dharamsala Test between India and Australia in March.
On paper, India possess one of the most explosive batting line-ups in the world, if not the best. But the Indian batsmen looked spectacularly out of form in the IPL, which could prove to be the team’s Achilles heel in the Champions Trophy. Apart from Shikhar Dhawan, the likes of Rohit Sharma (333 runs), Ajinkya Rahane (382 runs), MS Dhoni (290 runs) and Yuvraj Singh (252 runs) had underwhelming campaigns for their respective teams.
However, these players have done it all before and can come into their own at any point of time and the Indian team will be hoping it happens during the Champions Trophy.
Jasprit Bumrah will be India’s trump card in seaming conditions of England. Bumrah has had a meteoric rise in the last couple of years — both in domestic and international arena — and has become a mainstay in the national team. While Bumrah is a death over specialist, the pacer is also more that capable of bowling with the new ball and providing breakthroughs early on.
Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami
June 4: India v Pakistan, Birmingham, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)
June 8: India v Sri Lanka, London, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)
June 11: India v South Africa, London, 3:00 PM IST (Group B)

Related Articles

Back to top button