Niall O'Brien in action during the ICC Intercontinental Cup. Barry Chambers/INPHO
Big Test

Ireland move one step closer to Test cricket with new competition

The ICC Board met in Dubai to discuss the proposal.

Updated at 16.00

IRELAND HAVE MOVED a step closer to playing Test cricket after the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board approved the introduction of the ICC Test Challenge.

The competition, proposed to take place every four years, will see the 10th ranked Test playing side take on the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup, a competition that allows Associate members like Ireland, Scotland, Kenya and Afghanistan play first class cricket.

It has been a particularly good tournament to Ireland, they are the current holders and have won four of the last five stagings of the event.

However, with the next ICC Intercontinental Cup scheduled to take place between 2015 and 2017, Ireland would have to retain their title if they are to play in the 2018 ICC Test Challenge.

Should they get to take part in the new competition, they would play two five-day matches at home and two five-day matches away against the team ranked 10th in the ICC Test Team Rankings on 31 December 2017. As of March 5 this year, that team is Bangladesh.

Speaking to Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom explained that winning the ICC Test Challenge would allow Ireland to play Test cricket for at least four years.

“It’s not so much a relegation for the Test playing team but promotion for the Associate country like Ireland. If we were to qualify for the Test Challange we would be guaranteed four Test matches. We would also be free to organise games against other Test playing sides on a bi-lateral basis.

“The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) has already indicated it might be interested in playing teams like Ireland or Scotland and I think some of the lower ranked Test teams would be keen too.”

Having Test cricket to offer Irish players, on top of the central contracts, trips to World Cups and one-day cricket series against the likes of Sri Lanka in May. could also prove to be the missing piece of the Cricket Ireland jigsaw.

“I think if you look at what we’ve been able to offer players over the years, it’s a pretty strong package but the one glaring omission has been Test cricket and players like Boyd Rankin and Eoin Morgan have had to leave the country of their birth to play at that level.

“This new competition gives us the chance to offer them that.”

In other Cricket Ireland news, Deutrom said that sales for their games with Sri Lanka in May are ahead of expectations and, like last year against Pakistan, fully expects to have to turn people away from the gate next month.

First published at 1pm.

Padraig Harrington got revenge on Sonia O’Sullivan during last night’s Second Captains

5 of our favourite fitness apps for April

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.