Should Pakistan players just sit and be denied an opportunity to face top-sides while other ace cricketers collect big bucks in the mighty T20 league? The International Cricket Council (ICC) has ostensibly surrendered its control and lacks the initiative when it comes to prioritizing International Cricket over T20 leagues. 

Before the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL), it was unthinkable for international cricket to lose precedence over an unheard of country-specific competition. In life before 2008, country versus country contests garnered the greatest attention and players took a lot more pride in representing their countries than they do today. While IPL has allowed cricketers to make a fortune, it has led to a diluted interest in bilateral tours.

Pakistan has been worst hit by IPL as recently witnessed during the South Africa tour when as many as five players left unfinished business to hop over to India in time for the plutocratic franchise competition whilst Cricket South Africa (CSA) pretended business as usual and a lukewarm response followed from the administrative body. The big boards and ICC are failing to see the bigger picture as T20 leagues take over the cricket world. 

Besides that, cricket doesn't have to necessarily follow football's pathway and saturate itself with an array of leagues. It is muddling to see competitiveness and context taken out of the equation when teams, whose roster changes every year, partake in rather meaningless matches where the focus is primarily on an individual as the teams sometimes lose relevance. 

The United Nations of sorts that we see in T20 leagues may look hunky-dory for a while but the plethora of T20 leagues is harming the sanctity and relevance of international cricket - and that is too big of an opportunity cost. 

Not only Pakistan players, but many talented cricketers from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ireland, and associate nations never get to be picked in top-leagues, barring few exceptions, despite their talent and abilities to shine among the best. It's causing polarization of the cricket fraternity between strong and relatively weaker boards.

While the kind of investment involved and sponsors' interest in T20 leagues is astronomical but what if we could ponder and perhaps turn the clock back to when the Champions League was introduced in 2008 where each country's domestic champion participated in one grand league. The venue for the champions league could be changed each year just like the case with ICC tournaments.

The toning down of leagues will help create more time and a wider window for Test cricket. Proper roper bilateral tours could be arranged with more associate members getting a chance to play with ICC Full Members and get a level playing field to go up the ladder.

Let's not combine upshots of T20 cricket with T20 leagues. The shortest format has made the game interesting and increased the power-hitting abilities of the batsmen and made change-up deliveries common and, in general, helped in the evolution of the game but there is a downside. 

Add to the fact that we see the best talent being lured by T20 leagues and, as a result, the habits of concentration, perseverance, and having patience that is the cornerstone of Test cricket are fading. It is because there are not a lot of Test series being played and not enough has been done to pull new audiences towards cricket's purest format. 

Amid the covid-19 crisis, tours are already taking longer to finish owing to quarantining requirements and perhaps the time is ripe to reconsider the long term impacts of powerful T20 leagues on the game that we all hold dear.