ICC revamp January 30, 2014

An 11th Test country?


An 11th country could be playing Test cricket if one of the proposals discussed at the two-day ICC Board meeting in Dubai is passed. Although the plan is yet to be fleshed out completely, the idea is that the winner of the ICC's Intercontinental Cup, contested between the top eight Associates, would play the lowest-ranked Test country on a home-and-away basis. If the Associate wins, then they will be the 11th Test nation, for a period which is likely to range between three and four years.

The marginalisation of the Associates and Affiliates in the proposed revamp of the ICC structure was a hot topic in the past two weeks. However Sanjay Patel, the BCCI's secretary, has said there have been a lot of "misconceptions" about the draft proposal which were revised and presented as a set of principles during the Board meeting. The Board will reconvene on February 8 and is likely to finalise the resolutions. No timeline has yet been proposed for implementing the 11th Test country proposal.

Patel said that the sop of a Test berth would only enhance the quality of Associate cricket. "The other part is Intercontinental Cup. There also it has been provided in such a competitive way that the winner of the Intercontinental Cup will be eligible to play with top 10 nations. They can elevate themselves by that," Patel told media in Hyderabad while attending the Ranji Tropy final.

Patel pointed out that the details were yet to be worked out with regards to the promotion and relegation in case the Full Member lost to the Associate. "First they (Associate) will play as 11th team and in the next cycle they will be considered," Patel said.

The Associates themselves are unaware of any such proposal. Two Associates told ESPNcricinfo that they had not been informed of any such move. However Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, hinted that England could feature against Ireland in a Test match. "If Ireland do qualify for Test cricket, England will guarantee that we play them. We have already looked at that possibility when constructing our FTP," Clarke was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Having won the I-Cup on four occasions (no other Associate has won it more than once) Ireland would understandably be aggrieved if they are made to qualify to secure a Test berth. Ireland and Afghanistan are the top-two ranked Associates, and they clashed in the last I-Cup final in December 2013, which Ireland won convincingly.

It was the fourth time Ireland had won the I-Cup. The two-year long first-class competition is played between the top Associate and Affiliate teams, and the 2011-2013 season had a single round-robin league stage. The final was played between the teams ranked first and second at the conclusion of the group stage.

The top six Associate and Affiliate teams with ODI status between 2009 and 2012 - Afghanistan, Canada, Kenya, Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland - qualified automatically for the Intercontinental Cup. United Arab Emirates and Namibia were included after finishing as the top teams in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two in 2011.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mihir on February 6, 2014, 5:28 GMT

    Ireland Deserves to be 11th Test Nation . May be in Afghanistan in next 5years . But Ireland should play Bangladesh Zimbabwe in 3 Test Match Series and New Zealand West Indies Pakistan Sri Lanka in 2 Test Match Series . and with top 4 they can play 1 off Test. Till Ireland becomes more competitive . We don't want to see matches which Bangladesh gave us in their Test Years. 2 Test Matches against India South Africa Australia . So Ireland play bottom teams regularly till you get enough competitive to face big guns

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    Afghanistan Irelan Bangladesh & Zimbabwe should play together much than top test nations

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    Afghanistan has improved a lot since the ICup and I think it would best suit Afghanistan as they have a lot of players if the current players ever decided to retire. I mean AFG Under 19 is beating every Under 19 teams and a great example is the recent matches between AFG Under 19 and Pak Under 19 where Afghanistan trashed Pakistan in only 52 runs. Ireland does not even have an Under 19 team and their current players are old enough to retire, so giving them the status would be a mistake as they won't be able to produce more players. And also Afghanistan has beaten Ireland in the second last ICup where they debuted and won so it's not fair to decide on only one game.

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    Agree Kamal, but i would prefer both teams to be part of Test Nations because both are better then BD and NZ

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    Afghanistan and Ireland both should be part of Test Nations.

  • Dummy4 on February 4, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    If ICC give a change to Afghanistan to be the 11th Test country; so there are few things for goodness of Afghanistan: 1. Would bring unity & Peace to country 2. Youngsters will be encouraged to learn and play Cricket 3. More Inter Grounds will be Build So on, looking forward to see ICC decision which lucky country they will select for it.

  • Douglas on February 3, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    Ireland has proven itself so that is a no-brainer. Of the remaining, Afganistan is the most promising. In my opinion, both teams should be added.

  • Dummy4 on February 3, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    Afghanistan is deserve to be apart of the Test cricket, because for the first time participated in I Cup tournament in 2010 and won that cup, so ICC should rethink about their decision, they should give a chance to AFG to play test cricket.

  • Hamid on February 2, 2014, 7:17 GMT

    I strongly support giving the chance to both Afghanistan and Irland. They both have sufficient reasons - Irland has no doubt toped the IC but look at Afghanistan, they are keep washing these associates and affiliate teams, look at their U19 who have recently beat India U19 and Pakistan U19 and won the hearts of Cricketing world. ICC has to decide wither they continue to invest In Countries such as Pakistan and Sirilank where in their last series there were more players than audience, or if ICC can make a wise decision to invest in Afghanistan where crowd out of home for a friendly mach BW Pak and Afg is more then crowd in Sirilanka where Sirilanka playing a semifinal Mach on a home ground.

  • Dummy4 on February 2, 2014, 7:13 GMT

    This will a very appreciated initiative by ICC giving the status of Test cricket to the 11th Nation. Of course this brings quality to the associate cricket, and make others do the hard work to get promoted. In my opinion this shouldn't be Ireland based on winning the Intercontinental Cup 2011-2013, or winning the ICC Championship 4 times before. because the previous ICC Championship was won by AFG in 2009-2010, while Ireland couldn't even reach the final. And AFG had beat IRE during 2009-2010 ICC. In 2011-2013 ICC final IRE beat AFG. Another match was drawn between IRE and AFG in July 2012 ICC Cup. before, 2009-2010 ICC AFG hasn't played any ICC as AFG are the raising stars and they recently started the cricket, if they would have been in the previous tournaments, of course they would have won the previous titles as well. In my opinion both teams should be given a series of first class or test matches, whoever wins the series should get the chance of promotion to test Status.

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