Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ireland closing in on Test status as ICC open the door

Head groundsman of Wanderers stadium, Bethuel Buthelezi uses a fire extinguisher on bees that invaded the pitch. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Head groundsman of Wanderers stadium, Bethuel Buthelezi uses a fire extinguisher on bees that invaded the pitch. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Ireland have been given a tantalising glimpse of joining the top table of world cricket after this week's ICC meetings broke up in Dubai yesterday.

A move to allow Ireland, and Afghanistan, play Test cricket now looks set to be rubber-stamped in June, but another proposal could see them become full members, with access to better fixtures and much bigger funds.

The sport has been struggling with constitutional and finance issues, but ICC yesterday revealed proposals that could open the door to additional Full Members, explicitly mentioning Ireland and Afghanistan "subject to both meeting Membership criteria". A new Membership Committee would oversee this process and ensure ongoing compliance.

Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom said: "I don't want to remotely give the impression that we regard fulfilment of the Full Member criteria or approval by the membership as a penalty kick - but I might have small glass of wine to satisfy my cautiously optimistic self."

ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said: "Today was an important step forward for the future of the ICC and cricket around the world. I want the ICC to be reasonable and fair in our approach to all 105 Members, and the revised constitution and financial model does that. There are still details to work through and concerns to be addressed, but the principle of change is agreed and not for debate. There was a strong desire from the ICC Board to work together for the betterment of cricket."

India and Sri Lanka voted against the new measures, complaining they did not have enough time to study them, while Zimbabwe abstained.

Several changes in the structure of international cricket were agreed for presentation to the board's next meeting in April, including a two-year cycle test league for the top nine, with Zimbabwe and the two new members "guaranteed a consistent and confirmed schedule of Test matches against all other teams".

There will also be a 13-team ODI league and regional qualifying for the biennial World T20.

  • South Africa’s one-day international against Sri Lanka encountered an unexpected hazard when a swarm of bees interrupted play for almost half an hour at the Wanderers. Players on both teams fell to the floor in evasive action during Sri Lanka’s innings. A professional beekeeper was eventually brought in to help in their removal.

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