Ireland awarded full Test status by ICC


Although all the signs were that both Ireland and Afghanistan's applications to join the other 10 Test-playing nations had ticked all the 21 boxes required, the vagaries of worldwide cricketing politics left nobody 100 per cent certain until the tweet was sent out to confirm a unanimous decision had been taken by the full council of the ICC at its annual conference at The Oval in London.

In an historic announcement from London this afternoon, the ICC confirmed that both Ireland and Afghanistan have been granted full member status.

The granting of Test status will fulfil a lifelong ambition for the likes of legendary batsman Ed Joyce, who is playing on in expectation of a treasured first Test cap.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom says the crowd attendance for the ODI clash against England at Lord's in May will be important when they discuss the possibility of playing a Test match at the famous venue.

"Because of that, it was the reason that was stated by some of our brightest and best in recent years that they wished to play for England".

Ireland hope being awarded Test status will mean the end of top players such as Eoin Morgan defecting to England instead.

Stanikzai said in a subsequent conference call with reporters that he would "consult with the "Full (Test) members in our region", regarding the staging of Afghanistan's first Test".

Previous experience suggests it could take both Ireland and Afghanistan a long time to adjust to the demands of five-day Test cricket.

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Australia are set to play more cricket in the unhappy hunting ground of the United Arab Emirates after Afghanistan were granted Test-playing nation status.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport and it's what we've all been aiming for", he added.

Afghanistan on Thursday celebrated their entry into Test cricket, saying it was a dream come true for the country that has suffered from years of violence and conflict.

But it wasn't until 1969 that Ireland made the rest of the world game sit up when they bowled out the West Indies for just 25 at Sion Mills.

"It is also clearly a sign of the faith that the cricket community has in Ireland's ability to help grow the global cricket economy through more people attending, watching or investing in our great sport". But Ireland are eyeing a return to Lord's, where they played the second of two one-day internationals for the first time in against England last month.

Ireland has won four of the last five editions, with Afghanistan interrupting that streak with a victory in the 2010 tournament.

The ICC Board also unanimously agreed a new financial model, thereby reversing the 2014 resolutions and giving greater equality in the distribution of ICC income. "We are all very proud".