The India and Pakistan rivalry is confined to major tournaments (Photo by Alex Davidson-ICC/ICC via … [+] Getty Images)

ICC via Getty Images

The Indian Premier League, the billion-dollar tournament, effectively shuts down cricket in the months of April and May.

Of course, that is not entirely accurate and merely refers to the sport’s powerhouses India, England and Australia who do not schedule any international fixtures during this period given many of their top players have been lured to the world’s richest cricket tournament on massive deals.

The cricket boards of England and Australia reluctantly gave up trying to compete with the beast that is the IPL. But for other countries, whose players aren’t part of the IPL, they are often left in limo and trying to scramble fixtures amongst themselves.

Pakistan, most notably, are affected with their players effectively barred from playing in the IPL due to the political tension between the nuclear-armed countries.

It was an unfortunate rule evoked after the first edition in 2008 and, as I’ve reported previously, Pakistan have had to think of inventive ideas to ensure they aren’t just left idle annually during this time of year.

Former Pakistan boss Ramiz Raja had been pushing for the return of tri-series and quadrangular series which were once staples of cricket back when the 50-over format was riding a tidal wave of fandom.

Ramiz has since left, but Pakistan remains in its usual dilemma and things won’t change until some type of truce can be made with India. It is cricket’s crying shame that its most passionate rivalry can’t be played outside of major events – like World Cups – due to the political warring.

India and Pakistan have a heated rivalry in cricket (Photo by Daniel Pockett-ICC/ICC via Getty … [+] Images)

ICC via Getty Images

India’s government, amid an increasingly right-winged bent under Narendra Modi with the British bat and ball sport used as a political tool in the cricket crazy country, does not allow its national team to play in bilaterals against Pakistan.

With the frostiness only increasing, as the jingoism veers increasingly into cricket, a truce is unlikely any time soon. The teams won’t be playing against each other in bilaterals. It means starved fans are left frustrated and restless, but they won’t have to wait long with India and Pakistan to play a blockbuster in New York in one of the most anticipated matches in cricket history.

Matches between the countries, who combine to equal about 20 per cent of the world’s population, are watched by around 300-500 million people. It is true that the scarcity of the rivalry does fuel the anticipation, but the devoted fans from these countries would undoubtedly tune in even if it were played more frequently.

Cricket is used as a political tool in Narendra Modi’s government (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty … [+] Images)

Getty Images

There has been a lot of talk about the sanctity of international cricket, particularly the future of the expensive five-match Test match which struggles for popularity and relevance in some parts of the world.

Reviving the India-Pakistan rivalry, somehow, would undoubtedly help fuel international cricket. And cricket administrators have been trying to find a way to be able to cash in on the money-spinning contest.

There have been informal proposals in the past for a Test match to be held at the 100,000 Melbourne Cricket Ground although nothing resulted bar flashy headlines. Just recently, Cricket Australia did try to organise a tri-series with India and Pakistan, who are both touring next summer, but cricket’s increasingly congested calendar made the idea sit on the cutting room floor.

For now, rekindling the rivalry on a regular basis remains a pipedream and underlines the extent that politicking has infiltrated cricket.

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