Ireland’s Test cricket ambitions could be realised under proposed changes

ICC look set to radically overhaul international game from 2019

The structure of Test and one-day international cricket appears set for a radical and much-anticipated overhaul that could see Ireland playing Test cricket and One-Day Internationals against top sides on a regular basis from 2019.

Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom attended the two-day International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives committee meeting in Dubai, which he described as "encouraging" as he made his way to Abu Dhabi Airport on his return home.

Consensus is believed to have been reached on proposals that would see the top nine Test sides in the world playing off on a home and away basis over a two-year cycle, with a final at the end of it .

Ireland, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, presently 10th and last on the ICC Test rankings, would not be part of the league initially, but would make fixtures between themselves and the top nine Test-playing nations.

Ireland would also take part in a 13-team ODI league, which would also be introduced in 2019 and run over three years. It would also also decide World Cup qualification.

The proposals will now go forward to a full meeting of the ICC at the end of April.

Ireland’s cricketers are presently involved in a qualification tournament on the road to gaining Test status, leading the Intercontinental Cup after four of seven rounds, with a big game against second-placed Afghanistan to come at the end of March in India.

At present, the winner of the Intercontinental Cup is set to play against the bottom-ranked Test-playing nation in a best of three Test match series, where a win would see them gain Test status.