Indian team leaves for ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa

Indian team leaves for ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa

Indian team leaves for ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa

Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar takes out a bag from the boot of his car in Mumbai.

The team left by the Dubai-bound flight from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport here and from Dubai they will be taking a connecting flight to Johannesburg.

The eight-nation tournament is scheduled to take place from September 22 to October 5.
India were the joint winners along with hosts Sri Lanka in ICC Champions Trophy held in 2002.

The team will play a warm-up match against New Zealand on Septeber 20. Placed in Group A along with Australia, Pakistan and the West Indies, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men will open their league engagements on September 26 against Pakistan.

Gambhir's return will boost the side: Dhoni

Prior to the team's departure, Dhoni said that Gautam Gambhir's return will boost the team. Gambhir, who missed the tri-nation series in Sri Lanka due to a groin strain, passed the fitness test before the team's departure for the eight-nation elite tournament.
"We will miss Sehwag (out with a shoulder injury), but Gambhir's return will strengthen the team. He's one player who can make a difference," Dhoni told reporters here Thursday.
India will be a confident side going into the event, after winning the tri-series in Colombo, their sixth stright ODI series win.
"We don't really want to set a target that we can't reach. So we take every game as just another game," Doni said.
"We don't think about rankings or ratings. We just enjoy our game."
In the group stage, India have been placed alongside defending champions Australia, Twenty20 champions Pakistan and West Indies.
"We are in a tough group and so it's important to give our best from the start," said Dhoni.
"We are well prepared for the tournament and we are looking at things we need to do right."
India were the joint-winners with hosts Sri Lanka in the 2002 Champions Trophy.
The recall of Rahul Dravid to the One-day team after almost two years will serve India well on pacy South African pitches.
"Dravid batting at number three especially in South African conditions that suit fast bowlers will be of big help," said Dhoni.
"We have some stroke players in the lower order and it's important to give them a platform from where they can launch their innings."
"It's a tournament where you expect tough competition. We are preparing for each and every team in the same way, it doesn't really make any difference whether it is Pakistan or Australia or Zimbabwe," he said.
India will be without their bowling spearhead Zaheer Khan, who is also nursing a shoulder injury.
The team will look upto Ishant Sharma, who received some belting in the tri-series, and comeback man Ashish Nehra to deliver.
"There is a lot of scope for improvement in the bowling department. We have to do well  especially in the middle overs and in the slog overs. We also need to raise our fielding standard," Dhoni said.
The Squad:
Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Suresh Raina, Abhishek Nayar, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, R.P.Singh, Ishant Sharma, Amith Mishra, Dinesh Karthik.
Coach: Gary Kirsten.


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