Quadrangular Super Series back in focus with PCB's new proposal
Over the last three months, there have been signs of the Big Three - India, Australia and England - trying to revive the plan and it is understood that there have been discussions with other boards.
CHENNAI: After nearly two years, the talks of the Super Series are back doing the rounds. "Hello, fans. Will propose to the ICC a Four Nations T20I Super Series involving Pak, Ind, Aus, Eng, to be played every year, to be hosted on rotation basis by these four. A separate revenue model with profits to be shared on percentage basis with all ICC members, think we have a winner," tweeted Ramiz Raja, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) late Tuesday.
It is easy to brush aside Raja's proposal as far-fetched because the bilateral relationship between the BCCI and the PCB is non-existent, with the two nations having not featured in a Test series for 14 years now. And going by the Future Tours Programme, they will not play a Test or a bilateral series till 2023. In this context, Raja's proposal definitely looks like a plan that will not go beyond the initial stages.
But, remember there is no smoke without fire. In fact, Super Series as a concept was first proposed by the BCCI with India, England, Australia and a fourth team playing a quadrangular series annually, with each of the three boards playing host. While the plan was even discussed with the International Cricket Council, the onset of pandemic meant it never moved forward.
However, over the last three months, there have been signs of the Big Three trying to revive the plan and it is understood that there have been discussions with the other boards. According to an official privy to the developments, while at no stage have they included Pakistan or any other cricket board, the BCCI, ECB and CA are open to the idea of including the fourth team which could vary every year.
For example, when ECB hosts the event, it will get a chance to invite the fourth team, which in case IT can be Pakistan as there is a huge Asian settlement. "It all depends on the host. Given the bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, it may not be possible to play them in India. So, the BCCI can invite South Africa or West Indies as the fourth team. Australia can invite New Zealand given the traditional rivalry and England can bring Pakistan on board," an official in the know told this newspaper.
Moreover, if the plan gets approval from the ICC, then the BCCI will also not face difficulty in getting clearance from the government as it would not come under bilateral series. It is understood that with the Future Tours Programme set to see drastic changes going forward, a short window can be found to accommodate this Super Series and it would also generate interest among the broadcasters given the quality factor.
The BCCI's broadcast rights are also up for renewal shortly and there are indications that sans marquee series, it will find it difficult to attract huge numbers. However, the presence of a Super Series could potentially change all of it and BCCI officials reveal that of late the relationship with the PCB has been improving.
"The pandemic has altered a lot of things. Even the ODI Super League has been scrapped, so there will be changes to the FTP. It is too early to say what will change, but there is going to be a lot of discussion on having meaningful, quality cricket. In that sense, the Super Series is one that can be marketed in terms of quality and everyone in the cricketing eco-system will play a role," the official stated.