Sunday 17 December 2017

Ireland closing in on Test status


THE dream of Test match status has moved a step closer for Ireland as the ICC executive board has approved plans for the winners of the InterContinental Cup to challenge for the right to join the elite in 2018 and again in 2022.

If Ireland should claim the IC Cup trophy when it is next held in 2015-17, they will play four Test Challenge matches against the lowest-ranked Full Member – almost certainly Zimbabwe or Bangladesh.

Test status will then be awarded – for a minimum of four years – should the IC Cup winners beat the Full Members over a series of four five-day matches – two at home and two away.

While a chance to join the big boys is to be welcomed: why the four-year wait? – especially as the Full Member will not lose their Test status should they lose the challenge.

Yesterday's ICC board meeting in Dubai also confirmed that the formula for the next World T20 – to be held in India in 2016 – will be the same as the last, with the 'minnows' having to come through a qualifying tournament and a first round before joining the eight biggest fish. The initial qualifying tournament for the 2016 World T20 will be held in Ireland and Scotland next summer.

OLYMPIC bronze medallist Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Dean Walsh and Dean Gardiner are guaranteed a bronze following last-eight wins at the Feliks Stamm Memorial in Warsaw.

But Stephen Donnelly, Michael O'Reilly, and Gary Sweeney, who all won their first Irish Elite titles in February, bowed out yesterday.

Conlan beat Yerzhan Ordabayer of Kazakhstan and Walsh ousted Bohdan Vikazin of the Ukraine.

Earlier, Joyce beat Genaro Gamez of the USA on a split decision to record his second win in 24 hours in Warsaw.

All four Irish boxers will be in action at the 22-nation tournament today.

"We're very happy to have four into the semi-finals as this is a very tough and competitive tourna-ment," said head coach Billy Walsh.

Irish Independent

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