India have a difficult task of acclimatising to new conditions, given the spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that has rocked the game in the country. However, they have performed well in the warm-up match against Australia and in the first match of the Champions Trophy against South Africa. It suggests that India captain MS Dhoni has proved to be quite successful in imbuing the players with his ‘calm’ nature. Moreover, it’s a good omen that India do not seem to have affected by the IPL scandal.
India’s performance in the tournament heavily relies on their pacers, given the fast wickets of England. There is a general expectation among Indian fans that young Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has proved in a very short span of time that he worth his salt, will do wonders because of his ability to swing the ball in both directions, and English conditions are quite a help for him in this regard. He showed his talent in the series against Pakistan earlier this year, and hopes run high that he would earn a permanent place in the team after the ongoing tournament. But it is only possible if he succeeds in utilising the helpful conditions in England.
On the other hand, Indian quick Umesh Yadav, who joined the side after recovering from injury, has also got a chance to win a place in the team. Ishant Sharma having shown his heroics in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad is also flexing his muscles in the Champions Trophy. So the trio of Indian pacers is ready to make the opponents’ life miserable. Another thing of equal importance is the way Dhoni use Irfan Pathan in the tournament. Presence of quicks in the team may be affecting Pathan in some way or the other, but he has additional of batting at any position.
Ravindra Jadeja seems to be the only prominent player in the spin bowling department. Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra come after Jadeja because, like Pathan, he can be useful in the batting department, too. Jadeja and Irfan, in my opinion, can work miracles for India any time.
The absence of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag has raised questions on India batting line-up, which is considered to be one of the best in world. However, Shikhar Dhawan, who scored century in his maiden Test against Australia in a home series earlier this year, has come up as a strong contender to fill that yawning gap in the batting line-up. Moreover, his 114-run innings against South Africa in their first match of the tournament has sent shivers down the spines of many bowlers.
India can do wonders in the tournament if the IPL scandal would not haunt him anymore. Because a number of big guns have been coming in the spotlight since the start of the scandal and the Indians fans are fearful of the involvement of their beloved cricketers in the controversy. Anyway, the D-Day is nearing as India and Pakistan are scheduled to go head to head on June 15, and cricketer lovers on both sides of the border are desperately waiting for the contest. It is likely that the match will be decisive for both teams to reach the semi-finals. However, there is also a possibility that both teams would already earn a place in the semis before coming face-to-face. In this case, both teams can also lock horns in the final.