The ICC has set in motion a review of the bilateral Future Tours Programme at its board and committee meetings in Dubai. This was the first time the issue of bilateral arrangements was discussed since it replaced the central FTP agreements between the ICC and its members as part of the sweeping administrative reforms in the world body last year.

While this has opened up the possibility of the ICC reverting to the central FTP structure, such a development, ESPNcricinfo understands, may not be an immediate consequence of the meeting. It is learnt that the issue of the FTP was touched upon during an overarching discussion on the various aspects, problems and context of bilateral cricket.

The members of the ICC board are known to have explored what they wanted from an FTP, and what kind of FTP would suit their individual and collective interests. The formulation of a definite structure would, however, depend on all the members agreeing upon a common approach. The core of the discussion, it is understood, was geared towards optimising commercial possibilities, and sustaining and building on the game's popularity.

After further discussions a draft of the proposals is likely to be submitted to the board for further consideration. No change, however, is likely to be implemented anytime soon with deliberations likely to spill over into future ICC meetings.

Finding the right context for bilateral tournaments, something that ICC CEO David Richardson had expressed concern over in an interview to ESPNcricinfo recently, was also reportedly discussed in the meeting. It is learnt that other issues like India playing more matches abroad than at home and over-reliance on the Indian market were also considered. There were also suggestions as to how tri-series could replace bilateral contests that have little context. Inputs were also sought on the formats that members most preferred to play.

According to the ICC press release, the session discussed and identified "ways to enhance the context and value of future bilateral cricket. The ICC's management will now consult widely in respect of many of the areas that were discussed before presenting recommendations in due course under the directions of the ICC chairman."

Arun Venugopal is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo