- Get off to a fast start while batting. Of late, the Indian start in limited overs cricket (both 50 overs and T20) has been very sluggish. A big part of the reason has been Rohit Sharma – he just takes too much time to settle down.
- Get the combination right. Dhoni has a few important decisions to take in this regard. In my mind the following players will play for sure – Shikar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Yuvaraj Singh, M S Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.
- Question is who will open batting for India along with Dhawan. Will it be Rohit or Rahane. Rohit Sharma has struggled off late while Rahane has been playing well, albeit down the order. I still think Rohit will get the nod – but he has to pull some good performances, else he will not play too many games in this tournament.
- And who will be the final bowler. Will it be the spin of Amit Mishra, pace of Varun Aaron or all-round capabilities of Stuart Binny. Given that Pakistan plays spin very well – I think Dhoni will go with Varun Aaron. The extra pace of Varun could be a good counter threat against the likes of Afridi.
- Where does Virat Kohli bat – No.3 or No.4. The question is even more relevant given that Suresh Raina has shown good form. I feel Dhoni will play Kohli at No.3, Raina at No.4, Yuvraj at No.5, Dhoni himself at No.6, Jadeja at No.7 and Ashwin at No.8.
- Have a plan for playing Saeed Ajmal. The 4 overs Saeed bowls is the key. You cannot be too adventurous against him - neither can you afford to be too defensive. India should have a reasonable target for Saeed – probably between 20 & 25 runs while giving not more than 1 wicket away – and try and achieve it while taking minimum risks. Many people talk about Umar Gul – but I don’t think he poses a big threat to India.
- Plan for Shahid Afridi. You cannot bowl spinners at Afridi – he can hit you out of the park all day. And unless the ball is swinging a lot, guys like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar will also go for a lot of runs. Our best bet against Afridi will be Mohammed Shami and Varun Aaron. And these guys have to bowl well too. If Afridi plays 25 balls, chances are the match is gone.
- And finally, forget the recent worries and play like champions. An aggressive India will be a formidable threat for any team in this championship.
Over the last several years, the buzz word in business and IT circles has been "big-data" and analytics. Many many articles and write-ups talk about them so I won't go into the details. You could get enough to last a lifetime with just the first few results of a Google search of these terms. But do you really know how it applies, specifically to a sports company? For long, sports franchises have been one of the biggest users of analytics. Before this was a buzz word, coaches and managers have relied up numbers and finding patterns in them to drive on-field performance. Indeed, the major leagues of the world have relied on performance analytics for everything from scouting for talent to calling the action on the field of play. But that never transcended to the off-field, more mundane but equally important task of managing the sports business. As more and more options come up vying for the fan's attention - live events, travel, other sports, TV, the Internet - the