ICC news June 22, 2017

Afghanistan, Ireland get Test status

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'All of Afghanistan was waiting for this moment' - ACB CEO

Afghanistan and Ireland have been approved as Full Members by the ICC, meaning they have become cricket's 11th and 12th Test-playing nations. This was signed off on by the ICC Board in London on Thursday, during the ICC's AGM.

Afghanistan and Ireland's boards had applied to the ICC to have their status upgraded from Associates, and this was put to vote at the meeting on Thursday and unanimously supported.

Ireland first gained ODI status in 2005 after finishing runners-up in the ICC Trophy tournament, which they hosted, to gain their first World Cup berth. Two years later they scored a shock upset of Pakistan on St Patrick's Day in Jamaica and they've never looked back, qualifying for two subsequent World Cups in which they defeated England and West Indies to further press their case that they could maintain competitiveness with other Test nations.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle, it's the best. Not being able to play Tests was the reason cited by some players, who weren't able to achieve that career fulfilment with Ireland, as the reason they went to England," Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said. "That reason is now removed, we can play Tests ourselves. Who can say for certain that players won't leave in the future, but that can't be the reason for it now."

Afghanistan's rise has been even sharper having first gained ODI status in 2009 with a sixth-place finish at that year's World Cup Qualifier in South Africa. It followed three consecutive promotions over the previous year when they began in Division Five of the World Cricket League. Like Ireland, they have demonstrated the talent to stand toe-to-toe with Full Member nations, securing three straight ODI and T20I series wins over Zimbabwe as well as a win over eventual champion West Indies at the 2016 World T20. Most recently they drew their maiden ODI series in West Indies.

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"Another day that we can lock in our history and be proud," Shafiq Stanikzai, ACB chief executive, said, adding there was still more work to be done. "Every achievement is great, but it opens the door to challenges. We'll be hosting our international matches in Greater Noida and Sharjah, there should be a day when we can host inside Afghanistan."

The vote is not just an endorsement of each country's respective on-field talents but a seal of approval for efforts made in recent years to build up their domestic structures. In the last three years, both countries have started a multi-day competition with each receiving first-class designation from the ICC in the last year, a harbinger of Thursday's Full Member affirmation.

Since 2005, both countries have demonstrated their readiness for five-day cricket through their dominance in the Intercontinental Cup, the ICC's first-class competition for Associates. Ireland has won four of the last five editions, with Afghanistan interrupting that streak with a victory in the 2010 tournament. The two sides currently sit in the top-two spots in the current edition of the competition, Afghanistan holding a one-point lead after securing an innings victory at Greater Noida over Ireland earlier this year.

Afghanistan have only lost once in the 20 Intercontinental Cup matches they've played, that coming in the 2013 final to Ireland. Ireland's record is just as enviable, with 24 wins, three losses and 10 draws in 37 matches. But they will now be leaving that competition behind at the end of the year, with the door to Test cricket now wide open to them.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mr on June 28, 2017, 17:11 GMT

    @ACROSSTHECRICKETWORLD_FB : Actually, AFG considers Greater Noida ground in India as one of their home venues and already played some International matches there. This can be a blessing for them as they can request teams coming on India tour to have one off or a couple matches with them. Touring teams get good practice and AFG gets good experience. Also, AFG have less issues of losing players to other teams like IRE has. IRE lost lot of players to England and will keep losing them due to opportunities and money gap between cricket of two countries. Both countries have their forte and issues. I hope they grow better through this and keep other 10 nations on their edge to make cricket more exiting.

  • joshua7072265 on June 28, 2017, 2:55 GMT

    Congratulations to Ireland and Afghanistan, It is good that the game is expanding

  • umpire0391418 on June 27, 2017, 9:03 GMT

    Let there be more test cricket than ODI & T20s. It will test the batters competency & capable of long innings. Now if Ireland & Afghanistan plays against Aus Eng NZ the match will be over in 2days with innings victory. Let us not underestimate these two teams they can cause upsets to any test teams. It is time for ICC to think for playing in neutral venues. Ex Aus vs Ind played in WI. Play tests in non test playing nations to promote the game. Let us see how they are going to fare in test(Ire & Afg).Finally cricket is the winner. All the best for ALL the test playing nations.

  • Johann on June 26, 2017, 14:21 GMT

    Chris_P, I cannot agree more. A-team matches under conditions similar to test cricket surely should have been a step ahead of tests status. I am all for expanding the game, but a sensible process must be followed. Expect some solid records to be smashed in matches against these teams, making the records meaningless. More and more people will consider records held by Tendulkar, Kallis, Ponting, etc, but broken in future, as more of an achievement than records set after 2017.

  • revant2851399 on June 25, 2017, 4:56 GMT

    I can see bright Ireland future than Afghanistan because of the following drawbacks 1) there is no consistent home to play cricket they are traveling to UAE,India and back to Afghanistan in search of home ground. 2) As big nations like England, Australia,NZ, SA don't play against Afghanistan because they surely prepare turning pitches that result in some unexpected defeats. So there is no hardly a chance of series.And they don't even go to Afghanistan for security reasons. 2)coming to India,they don't go to Play against Afghanistan in UAE and Afghanistan because they are not even interested to play Pak in UAE and pakistan.india will not play against Afghanistan even in India too may be 2 match odi series possibe hardly depending on India mood.

    IRELAND ADVANTAGES: 1) Ireland had good consistent home conditions with good looking grounds in good cool weather. 2) England and Ireland planning to play test series in 2019 this boosts countries to play series in Ireland. 3)no risk factors

  •   FahimAhmed(BengaliBangladeshicricketfan) on June 24, 2017, 22:48 GMT

    Scope of cricket is increasing.

  • revant2851399 on June 24, 2017, 19:37 GMT

    First congrats to Ireland and Afghanistan for achieving test status.As I am dreaming when Ireland would get test status that day came.I am very happy.I want to See teams touring Ireland to play full series.i am eagerly waiting for England vs Ireland test match at lords venue.

  • cricfan1915289715 on June 24, 2017, 15:57 GMT

    feeling very happy too see globalization of cricket happening. I request ICC to host the 2024 world t20 jointly by China , Japan and south Korea to grow the awareness of cricket in these countries. fan from Bangladesh.

  • umpire0391418 on June 24, 2017, 11:36 GMT

    GREAT things happen. Globalisation happening. Let's see the world tour. Cricket is the winner.

  •   AhmedManaas on June 24, 2017, 10:14 GMT

    Congrats to both the nation and its people. It's a good day for globalization of cricket.

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