- 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.
As the running season for the year 2013 begins, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the subject. I am not a great runner. Heck - I started running only a few years ago… well past my 35th birthday. So this is not an attempt to guide or teach or inspire. I don't have any specific objective in mind as I am writing this. I am just sharing my thoughts on how I feel when I run long distance which others could possibly relate to. I have been running relatively long distances (5K, 10K and 21K) for a couple of years now. When I run a half marathon, I take longer than a seasoned runner. A seasoned runner takes around 2 hours (And here I am excluding the seriously good runners who do it at a much more rapid pace) while I take 25 minutes longer. But if you think about it… I am on my feet for that much longer. So in that sense, taking longer to finish is better than finishing faster - right? What do I think about when running… Deep philosophy? Something that has be