India vs Pakistan, and Australia vs England, every year in a four-way T20I tournament. Who wouldn't want to witness cricket's biggest rivalries on an annual basis in their own time slot?
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja's proposal for a regular quadrangular series between those nations does have an upside. A reported commercial gain of $750m, as well as the intangible gain of potentially paving the way for the bilateral series to resume between arch rivals India and Pakistan.
The four-nation series was "welcomed and debated upon as a concept" by ICC members, but was ultimately rejected last Sunday 10 April at their annual meeting.
Most of the complications surrounding the feasability of the tournament were a packed future tours program, honoring bilateral agreements, and maintaining the stature of ICC-organized events - the T20 and ODI World Cups and Champions Trophy.
Could it pave the way for bilateral series to resume over time?
The successful execution of the proposed four-way series, and therefore the regular grind of an ICC-run event including Pakistan and India, could be the first cherishable step to recapturing the bilateral series between the two Asian giants.
The high temperament of nationalism has a place to flourish in the cricketing spirit, as Ramiz Raja said:
“Whenever I talk, it’s not always as the chairman of a Cricket Board. But it’s the cricketer that comes out. And as a cricketer, I’ll say that politics can be set aside because why should the fans not enjoy India-Pakistan games," he said speaking to The Indian Express on Friday.
“I’m just hoping that we look at this concept as a cricketing concept and not as a political concept."
This aura in the cricketing world has the opportunity to apolitically be valued instead of repressed, and redress the politization of cricketing decisions.
Essentially, this quadrangular series could also add another fixture to help ease back the Pakistan-India bilateral series, as do other fixtures at ICC-organised events.
Evidence of the utmost dedication and fervor appetite for such fixtures is the fact that tickets for their clash at the T20 World Cup this year sold out in a matter of minutes.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground's (MCG) designation as the host venue for the Pakistan-India clash in the is set to do the ultimate justice to the gravity of the occasion. It is the largest cricket ground (capacity of 100,000) in the world outside Asia, and poses as an ideal venue to host the two nations.
Thirteen years ago, the Indian government halted all bilateral series across the region of 1.6 billion people.
Multi-nation series welcomed as a concept by national boards
The idea of advocating for the right to host a quadrangular series was generally supported by cricket authorities, but this particular proposal was simply assessed as not feasible due to a packed schedule.
According to an ESPNCricinfo report, it is believed the England Cricket Board (ECB), Cricket Australia (CA), Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the PCB were in favor of the proposal, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was "not in direct opposition" to the idea.
Importantly, this report of "by no means unanimous support" comes before the four-nation T20I series' rejection at Sunday's meeting.
Additionally, CA has also previously been captivated by the possibility of hosting a tri-series in Australia.