India takes on Sri Lanka, and England and South Africa will battle it out in the Champions Trophy semi-finals. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the teams and what is expected? James Alter, editor, Cricketnext.com, joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. Hi Jamie! Let me, for a change, reverse the question for you.India, we all know, are firm favorites to go all the way, but do you suppose Sri Lanka, in the semis,could pose problem? Who, in you view, as an indiviual, is a threat to India's chances in the SFs? Asked by: Mansoor
ICC Champions Trophy: How the semi-finals have panned out
A. Surely Sri Lanka will fancy their chances against India, especially considering how familiar they are with the opposition. They've played each other 41 times in the last five years, and while Sri Lanka have won just 14 of those they know India's strengths and weaknesses well. If you're asking about an individual, I would say Mahela Jayawardene. He averages almost 47 against India in knockout matches of ODI tournaments (compared to a career average of 33) so that indicates that he lifts his game against this opposition.
Q. Quick question, who do you think will win? :) Asked by: nikhil
A. India are looking very good.
Q. Is it possible to go 5 wins in a row for India? Asked by: gnanapazham
A. Why not?
Q. What happens if semi-finals get washed out? Will team with more points qualify for finals. Asked by: Avi
A. The smart folks at the ICC have decided not to have a reserve day, bless them. So the team that topped their respective group will progress to the final.
Q. The line up is nature made - the absence of rain could have given a new line up? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. Sorry. Don't get what you're asking.
Q. Are you expecting India vs England semifinal? Can England break the duck? Asked by: Harishkp21
A. Umm, the semi-finals are between South Africa and England and India and Sri Lanka.
Q. Do you think Ishanth Sharma deserves a place in the playing eleven. Don't you think Irfan deserves a look in? Asked by: Bharath
A. Ishant has, not surprisingly, been indifferent. He was good in the win over Pakistan, during his second spell, but overall he's been average. I would not mind having Irfan get a game because he's a left-armer. Something different. Plus he's a much better fielder.
Q. What will happen if all the three matches washed away? Asked by: srini
A. There are no reserve days. So if the semi-finals are washed off, India will play England in the final because each topped their groups. If the final is called off, the teams will be declared joint winners. Terrific result for a tournament marred by rain, right? Hurray for ODIs.
Q. The Finals will be between INDIA and England? Asked by: sundar1950in
A. Could be, though England will find it hard to beat South Africa.
Q. Who do you think will lift the trophy? :D PS : Say India :D Asked by: Manu
A. Either India or South Africa.
Q. Do you think Amit Mishra should play instead of R Ashwin? Asked by: Praveen
A. Ashwin has been containing, and playing Mishra out of the blue is a move that I do not see India making.
Q. Looking to the Team India's performance so far in league matches, don't you think India is poised to lift the trophy? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker
A. On form, yes. But playing in knockouts is a very different proposition. Depends on whether the younger players can hold their nerve and stay in form. By that I mean Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar, Rohit and Jadeja.
Q. Is Dhoni the X factor for India? Asked by: Kiran
A. He has been, yes. But Jadeja has been very impressive in England.
Q. Do you feel the attitude of Indian batsmen while facing swing has changed big time because we ourselves have a formidable swing bowlers. Or has the nature of pitches this time around in England has suited our batsmen? Reason for asking is, Indians haven't appeared as troubled in these conditions as they usually appeared on earlier tours. Asked by: AbhijitVirgo
A. Where has there been swing? India's matches have been played on pretty easy surfaces which have encouraged strokeplay. I think that's a factor in the runs scored by Dhawan and Rohit at the top. If its overcast in Cardiff, and the pitch is a bit damp, and Kulasekara and Malinga are moving the ball around, then I would be keen to see how Rohit and Dhawan fare.
Q. India's middle order might be rusty as they didn't get any chance during the league stages, If there is a top order collapse, Do you think this will play a crucial role in the semis? Asked by: Murali Mohan S
A. It could, by all means. Kohli has not had much time in the middle, same for Dhoni. Karthik and Jadeja are capable though. That's why adding Irfan is a good move.
Q. What are your view on this indian team, is this Dhoni's perfect young team? Asked by: sahana
A. Far from perfect. Lets not forget India struggled in ODIs for about 18 months. Dhawan and Karthik are just returning to ODI cricket, Rohit has been given another lease on life with Gambhir and Sehwag dropped and Tendulkar retired. Raina is in need of runs badly. Jadeja is still some ways from cementing his place as the all rounder so badly needed after Yuvraj. Yes, some players have been excellent in England and the fielding has been tremendous. But you need to look back as far as 2006 when there was so much talk about a young team looking at the 2007 World Cup under Chappell. And we all know what happened there. So, lets appreciate what's happening in England but not get carried away. India have to build a team for 2015.
Q. Hi, What is your opinion about the role of SIR Ravinder Jadeja in Champions Trophy till now? Also about his team mates calling him, sir. Asked by: Ravi Malik
A. The moniker of 'Sir' came about after he scored his third first-class triple-century and joined the illustrious company of WG Grace, Bill Ponsford, Don Bradman, Wally Hammond, Graeme Hick, Brian Lara and Michael Hussey. So that brought about the 'Sir' joke. Not so long ago people were on his case for not being fit to play for India. But his bowling has improved and playing those Tests against Australia seem to have really boosted his confidence. Jadeja's bowling and fielding in England have been rather excellent. His cameo against South Africa too was match-winning. He must keep performing like this to become the allrounder at No. 7.
Q. I think Ind vs Eng will face in Final, in that situation, will Dhoni pick 3rd specialist spinner? Asked by: Ravindra Gardi
A. England have been playing spin well so I really don't see Dhoni playing three spinners. And Mishra would be rusty.
Q. Considering how easy all our victories have been so far, do you think the batting which has not really been tested so far, play to our disadvantage? The likes of Raina and Dhoni haven't really spent a lot of time in the middle with the bat. Asked by: Bharath
A. A top-order failure would of course put pressure on India, but Karthik and Jadeja have been in the runs and Dhoni is a big-game player. Raina is the concern.