Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Afghanistan and Ireland have officially been granted Test status after the ICC approved them as Full Member nations.
Afghanistan and Ireland became the 11th and 12th Test-playing countries after their request to have their status upgraded from an Associate nation to a Full Member nation was unanimously supported during the ICC’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in London on Thursday.
Both Ireland and Afghanistan have secured huge upsets over high-profile opposition and have shown time and time again that they are capable of giving the other Full Member countries a run for their money.
Afghanistan have beaten Zimbabwe in three consecutive ODI and Twenty20 series, while also downing the West Indies at the 2016 World Twenty20. Afghanistan were the only team to beat the West Indies, who went on to win the tournament.
Most recently, they drew 1-1 with the West Indies in their maiden ODI series in the Caribbean.
“Another day that we can lock in our history and be proud. Every achievement is great, but it opens the door to challenges,” Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) chief executive Shafiq Stanikzai said. “We’ll be hosting our international matches in Greater Noida and Sharjah, there will be a day when we can host inside Afghanistan.”
As for Ireland, they have developed a knack of stunning Full Member nations at the ICC World Cup as in the 2007 edition of the event, they beat Pakistan by three wickets.
In the 2011 World Cup, they triumphed over England by three wickets, while in the 2015 edition of the tournament, they defeated the West Indies by four wickets.
“We felt it wasn’t appropriate to commence discussions with Test nations about when we should start playing till we had the decision,” Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said. “It would have been inappropriate. We now have a mandate to begin those discussions.
“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. 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.”