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ICC announces two new international test teams

Afghanistan and Ireland elevated to Full Member status taking the number of countries playing at the pinnacle of cricket from 10 to 12 in a decision described as fantastic and remarkable.

Last updated: 07.10.2023
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Afghanistan and Ireland elevated to Full Member status taking the number of countries playing at the pinnacle of cricket from 10 to 12 in a decision described as "fantastic" and "remarkable".

International Cricket Council is the governing body of cricket founded by representatives of England, Australia, and South Africa in 1909. It boasts of 105 members with 12 full members that play test matches, 37 affiliate members, and 56 associate members. England, Australia and South Africa were the founding members of ICC, with West Indies, India, and New Zealand joining in 1926. Pakistan joined in 1952, Sri Lanka in 1981, Zimbabwe in 1991 and Bangladesh in 2000 making total full-time members to 10, which will now have played test matches.


In Image: Official Photo of First Test Match Team of Ireland

In a historic decision made by ICC on 22 June 2017, Ireland and Afghanistan was granted full Test Status membership in a unanimous decision in the annual general meet at the Oval. This test status has been granted following a Membership Committee recommendation that both countries applications met the new membership criteria. In a decision that is being lauded as historic and remarkable this means that both the teams can now compete with the other existing 10 players in Test Cricket, and also among themselves.

Currently the 10 test teams by ICC Test Rankings:

1) India

2) South Africa

3) England 

4) New Zealand

5) Australia

6) Sri Lanka

7) Pakistan

8) West Indies

9) Bangladesh

10) Zimbabwe

Ireland and Afghanistan's men's teams will now be allowed to play the five-day Test cricket, regarded as the sport's top format. In an unprecedented move in 1969, Ireland Men's team made the rest of the world sit up and notice when they bowled out the West Indies for just 25. The heavyweights were shocked at the dismal performance of the most feared team of that era at the hands of a team relatively unheard of. Flash forward 2007 World Cup, everyone still remembers the humiliating loss of Pakistan at the hands of a novice Ireland team, and the mysterious death of Bob Wulmer, its main coach at that time. Ireland has since established themselves during the course of recording one-day international wins over West Indies and England. Relatively, Afghanistan is a new team, unaware of the many challenges of a new team joining the gentleman's game. Cricket has been played in Afghanistan since the 1990s, and the men's team has progressed from being a disorganized band of rookie novice fellows to a well-balanced team. It is only now in the 2000s when it has become popular to such an extent.

Ireland’s first Test is likely to be from Afghanistan next year, who are currently residing in Delhi due to security problems in their own country. They will also be looking to play England in two years' time. Let us hope that between any teams which play against each other, irrespective of the social and political scenarios of the individual countries, Cricket wins !!

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