The recently appointed president of the International Cricketing Council (ICC), the Pakistani great, Zaheer Abbas, said that despite being appointed to largely ceremonial post, he would use its influence to help world cricket; and foremost amongst his plans is the bid to revive the faltering Pakistan-India bilateral series. The legendary series, which used to be one of the most watched cricketing events, has fallen out of favour as security issues and political conflicts between India and Pakistan have taken the fore. Most cricket fans – even from neutral countries – would be on board with a revival, and these sentiments are mirrored by players from both nations. Yet at the moment it seems like a herculean task for the ICC president, as the ultimate decision rests in the hands of the respective cricketing boards

Zaheer Abbas is not the only one that would face difficulties due to national board autonomy; Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) director, Jalal Yunus, has come to heavily criticising the ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP), under which national boards have freedom to decide the number, timings and extent of bilateral series as long as the play each associate nation twice in a period of 10 years. BCB’s criticism stems from the fact that at the conclusion of the series with India, which they won 2-1, their spot in the ICC Champions Trophy was confirmed; but a recently announced series between the other three nations fighting for the spot – Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and West Indies – gives them another shot at qualification. While Yunus agrees that they are in their right, it does feel like there is space for manipulation.

Beyond the BCB this sense of imbalance is voiced by other nations too. Established and wealthy cricket boards can effectively lock out smaller nations from advancement by refusing to play cricket with them, and thus denying them revenue. This lack in revenue in turn perpetuates their status as minnows; creating a catch-22 situation. Perhaps a centralised series schedule would give each nation an equal chance.