Scheduling is an important aspect of preparation for the season and much depends on how the authorities arrange the fixtures of the different formats in the game. India's first class season is just about coming to an end with the Ranji Trophy, the national championship being won by Mumbai for the 41st time.
After being run close for the first two days by Saurashtra, the Mumbai boys came bouncing back and just railroaded the opposition on day three and ended up winning by an innings before the end of the day. The Irani Trophy will be in progress as you read this which will signal the end to the first class season. This season there was a gap between the group stage games and the knockout stage of the Ranji trophy to accommodate the limited overs competitions.
Teams can lose rhythm when there is a gap as large as the one that was seen this time. With two big T20 competitions coming up in February and March it would have been better if the domestic T20 competitions were played just before so as to give the selectors a good idea of the form of some of the players and also have them in match trim for the Asia Cup and the World Cup.
Be that as it may the Indian team has a nice balance to it and is looking good with a mixture of youth and experience. Their performances also reflect that with the experience coming to the rescue after the youth has given them the impetus in the bowling.
Virat Kohli has been outstanding and has played classy and matured innings to take India home after the loss of early wickets. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have not quite got their team off to the usual good start but its a combo that has done well over the last season or so and is a reliable one indeed.
Hosts Bangladesh have also played remarkably well and will be looking to win their first Asia Cup, they have some good all-rounders who can make such a difference to the team as they give the skipper options to move batsmen up and down the order and use bowlers according to the situation.
Mahmudullah has been one of Bangladesh's promising players with both bat and ball and his performances especially under pressure have been tremendously inspiring to the others in the team.
For his all round deeds in the Asia Cup Mahmudullah is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.