Ireland move closer to Test cricket status after ICC meeting

Ireland's Paul Stirling
Paul Stirling plays a shot during Ireland's ODI against Australia last year

Ireland could be granted Test cricket status in April after a meeting of the International Cricket Council board in Dubai.

An agreement has been made to include them and Afghanistan in future plans.

At the meeting, the ICC also agreed the principle of a nine-team Test league, to be run over a two-year cycle, probably starting after the 2019 World Cup.

Decisions will be made at the next ICC board meeting in April.

In addition, after the controversy of the recent India-England series, the ICC has agreed in principle to use the decision review system in televised World Twenty20 matches from October.

The ICC has been discussing ways to revamp the Test structure for some time.

It is unclear if Ireland and Afghanistan would be able to play Tests straight away or would have to wait for the new structure of Test cricket to begin.

Ireland made their one-day international debut in June 2006 when they played England, while Afghanistan's maiden ODI was three years later.

Afghanistan's domestic four-day and Twenty20 competitions have now been granted first-class and List A status respectively, four months after Ireland's Inter-Provincial Championship became the first domestic event outside a Test-playing country to earn first-class status.

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