Decision on Ireland’s cricket test status to be made on Thursday

Upgrade from ICC would allow Ireland to play against world’s best cricketing countries

Ireland will learn on Thursday afternoon whether they have been successful in a 10-year quest to join cricket’s elite.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) are meeting at The Oval cricket ground in London and a decision will be taken on whether to upgrade the status of both Ireland and Afghanistan from associate to full member. This would allow Ireland to play Test matches against the world’s best cricketing countries.

There is something apposite about the timing in that it’s 10 years since Ireland famously beat Pakistan. Cricket Ireland, under the shrewd leadership of chief executive Warren Deutrom, have defied financial and playing restrictions, to produce several memorable moments in Irish sport.

Victories over Pakistan (2007), England (2011) and the West Indies (2015) were a semi-regular reminder to the ICC that Ireland’s desire for full member status was not some pie-in-the-sky aspiration. A change in the ICC governance rules and attitudes – India aside – have propelled Ireland to the threshold of premier-level Test cricket.



Deutrom's vision and tenacity may be rewarded in London on Thursday but he is keen to share any kudos, should the decision come down in favour of Cricket Ireland. In an interview with Ryan Bailey of earlier this week he admitted: "I genuinely don't want to make this about me and I don't say as false modesty but what I do is I always take inspiration from the people I work with.

“The degree of self-belief and strength from the players we took in 2007, 2011 and 2015 and the extraordinary achievements on the field.”

There is recognition that the current Ireland team’s peak achievements may be appraised for now in the rear-view mirror but with the commercial and playing horizons broadly expanded, there is a wonderful opportunity not only to rebuild but also for the sport itself to evolve and develop its appeal and support in Ireland too.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer