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General News Ireland, Afghanistan awarded Test status

The International Cricket Council (ICC) welcomed two new entrants to the Test arena after the Full Council members unanimously granted Ireland and Afghanistan Full Member status in the board meeting in London on Thursday (June 22).

Ireland have been knocking on the doors of the ICC for quite some time. Having played their first 50-over World Cup in 2007 and immediately making an impact by beating Pakistan, Ireland have since participated in every ICC event, causing a few upsets along the way.

Afghanistan, on the other hand, have grown tremendously since they received their One-Day status in 2011. Having failed to reach the World Cup the same year, the Asian side has made giant steps in ODIs and Twenty20 cricket. They qualified for the 2015 World Cup and won their first game in the mega event by beating Scotland.

The Asian side has been in the ascendancy for quite a while now. Their journey graph is on an upward curve and they are more formidable than any other associate nation, including Ireland, whom they beat in a recently held ODI and T20I series. Afghanistan recently drew the ODI series 1-1 in West Indies.

It comes as a no surprise that a team consisting of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, who are making waves for participating in different leagues around the globe, will now be able to test their skills in the longest form of the game.

"I'd like to congratulate Afghanistan and Ireland on their Full Membership status which is the result of their dedication to improving performance both off and on the field resulting in the significant development and growth of cricket in their respective countries," David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said. "Both have clearly demonstrated they meet the new criteria and as such have made the progression to Full Membership."

Shafiq Stanikzai, the Afghanistan CEO, was understandably elated after the decision. "For a nation like Afghanistan it is a huge and remarkable achievement, the entire nation will be celebrating across all five regions and different provinces, it is the perfect Eid gift," he gushed. " Everyone has waited for this news and has been so keen to hear this news. Afghanistan Cricket has gone from strength to strength and we dared to dream that this would happen and today it has become a reality.

"I would like to thank the ICC and the Board who have demonstrated today that they are committed to growing the global game and rewarding nations who are performing on and off the field. As an administrator every achievement is huge and it opens the doors to new challenges and we need to work hard to maintain and sustain our development at the top of the cricket world."

Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland CEO, felt the hard work had finally been rewarded. "We are delighted and proud with today's historic announcement. It is an extraordinary testament to the talent and endeavour of thousands of passionate players, coaches, volunteers, staff, clubs and committee people," he said.

"We would like to thank most sincerely the ICC and its members for bestowing this honour on us today. It is a reflection not just of our past achievements but of our potential to grow our great game. We shall spend the next 24 hours marking the moment and celebrating this great day for Irish cricket and next week the hard work of planning to transition to full membership and Test status begins in earnest."

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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