For the best part of the year, cricket is a country versus country phenomenon, and for dyed-in-the-wool fans, Australia versus England or India versus South Africa or Pakistan versus Sri Lanka is still what holds the most interest, depending on where you come from. There's already a rich tradition of a second layer through domestic cricket, and for a Yorkshireman, the Roses game against Lancashire might even trump a Test match. In India, the Mumbai-Delhi Ranji Trophy rivalry is a many storied one, even if it's running out of puff a bit in recent times.
The introduction of the Indian Premier League has added another undercurrent, with city-based loyalties developing.
The fact of the matter, however, is that cricket has always provided some unusual and interesting matches. In fact, games such as Smokers versus Non Smokers, Bachelors versus Married Men, North of the Thames versus South of the Thames were routinely awarded first-class status in England in the early 20th century.
While you may be unfamiliar with these match-ups, all readers will be familiar with the term Board President's XI, used around the world with minor variations, commonly when a team is cobbled together to take on a touring side. When we looked recently at the composition of office-bearers of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, we found that they could comfortably put a team on the park, should the opportunity ever arise.
Below (in batting order) is our KSCA President's XI:
1. Sujiith Somasunder (Managing Committee): He managed only two ODIs for India, but Somasunder was good enough to play 99 first-class matches, scoring more than 5500 runs with a best effort of 222.
2. MR Srinivasaprasad (Managing Committee): Born in Salem, Tamil Nadu, Srinivasaprasad played 53 first-class matches for Karnataka between 1979 and 1988. His average of 36 may not look flash in this day and age, but a highest of 166* points to a worthy campaigner.
3. Rahul Dravid (Managing Committee, wk): Not for the first time in his career, Dravid will have to don the big gloves to help out the team. Given that he's perhaps the best No. 3 India have produced, this slot was his without the slightest shred of doubt.
4. Vijay R Bharadwaj (Managing Committee): Shoring up the top order and giving the skipper a useful spin option, Bharadwaj gives the team balance. He was only picked to play three Tests and 10 ODIs for India, but this legend of the domestic circuit was a shoo-in for this team.
5. R Sudhakar Rao (Assistant Secretary - Administration): A Karnataka stalwart whose double-hundred against Hyderabad in the 1975-76 season put his name up for higher honours, Rao only turned out for India once, in an ODI where he was run out for 4.
6. K Sriram (Managing Committee): A useful addition to the middle-order in a team that has no shortage of bowling options orall-rounders, Sriram played 15 first-class matches for Karnataka between 1995 and 2000.
7. Roger Binny (Vice President): No. 7 is low in the order for someone who has six international half-centuries and a first-class best of 211*. But Binny will probably need to do a lot of bowling if there's any swing on offer. With 205 first-class wickets to go with 124 international sticks, Binny is the star all-rounder of this team.
8. J Abhiram (Assistant Secretary - Tournament): Medium-pace and useful runs slot Abhiram into the lower order in this team. In 46 first-class matches, he averaged 28 with the bat and a touch under 40 with the ball.
9. Anil Kumble (President, Capt): With a strong team at his disposal, Kumble should have no trouble marshalling his resources on the field. Off it, however, he might have to walk a bit of a tightrope, with different factions pulling this way and that. As he showed Down Under, Kumble is the right man for tough jobs.
10. Javagal Srinath (Secretary): Among the fastest bowlers India have ever produced, Srinath has shown that he has plenty of nous to go with his undeniable talent and ethic for hard work. Kumble's deputy off the field, he could well end up being the captain's go-to man on this team.
11. Venkatesh Prasad (Vice President): A smooth operator who knew just how to pick up wickets even when there was very little in the conditions for quick bowlers, Prasad completes an attack that should be able to deliver in all conditions against all opposition.
Anand Vasu is Managing Editor at Wisden India