Ireland to play their first Test in May

Ross Houston
October 13, 2017

The ICC will also establish a 13-nation one-day global league starting in 2020, with results counting towards World Cup qualification. In the first edition of the league, each side will play four home and four away series each comprising of three ODIs moving to all teams playing each other from the second cycle onwards.

South Africa and Zimbabwe will meet over four days in the first scheduled four-day Test from Boxing Day.

Ireland and Afghanistan were granted full Test membership rights after years of lobbying in the Annual General Meeting of the ICC in London earlier this June. "Bringing context to bilateral cricket is not a new challenge, but this is the first time a genuine solution has been agreed on". A set of playing conditions for four-day Tests is set to be drawn up by ICC management in coming weeks.

ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson told reporters in Auckland on Friday that while details still needed to be worked out, the test championship would commence after the 50-overs World Cup in 2019 and culminate with a final in mid-2021.


Cricket Ireland are hoping to persuade Pakistan to be its first opponents in the longest format of the game at Malahide next year.

"Our priority was to develop an worldwide cricket structure that gave context and meaning across global cricket and particularly in the Test arena".

"Test matches have witnessed a decline in attendances in recent years, throwing the door open to a number of means to engage fans, including the introduction of day-night Tests".

"Throughout the discussions about the future of test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of test cricket", Richardson said.


While Ireland has only been admitted to test status this year, cricket has existed in the country since the 18th century and the national team, like its rugby union counterpart, represents both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Numerous questions remain about how the new league structures will unfold, particularly around the fraught issue of bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan.

A 13-team ODI league, introduced from 2021, will now be used to qualify for the World Cup.


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