Ireland see path to Test cricket opened up by ICC

Winner of next Intercontinental Cup will play-off against bottom ranked Test side

Ireland could be playing Test cricket three years ahead of their own schedule following today’s International Cricket Council’s decision to approve a wide range of changes relating to the future of the game.

The ICC opened up a pathway to Test cricket for Associate and Affiliate nations by announcing that the nest winners of the Intercontinental Cup, of which Ireland are the present holders, will play off against the bottom ranked Test country and, if successful, obtain Test status.

Cricket Ireland had set 2020 as the date for becoming a Test-playing nation, but that could come back to 2017, or even 2016, depending on the structure of the next Intercontinental Cup.

The last competition was played off between eight countries from June 2011 to December 2013, when Ireland beat Afghanistan by 122 runs in Dubai.


If the same format and timescale was observed for the next competition, the final would take place in December 2016 ahead of a play-off against the bottom ranked Test nation in 2017. Bangladesh presently occupy the bottom rung of the Test ladder.

Ireland’s record in the first-class Intercontinental Cup competition has been exceptional, winning the tournament in four of its six stagings and losing just two matches from the 32 they have played.

Meanwhile, Ireland got a major boost ahead of their upcoming games against West Indies after they beat the Windward Islands by 64 runs in their final game at the Nagico Super50 in Trinidad.

Having suffered heavy defeats to both Guyana and Jamaica, Ireland made just 179, a score that was to prove more than ample on a turgid pitch at the Queen’s Park Oval.

Niall O'Brien top-scored with 44 from 63 deliveries , with all-rounder Stuart Thomspon making a very valuable 32.

Thompson then took a wicket with his second delivery to remove West Indies international Johnson Charles before Ireland's spinners took over, with George Dockrell taking three wickets for 14 in seven overs.

Andrew McBrine and Paul Stirling picked up a wicket each before Andrew Poynter claimed his first two international wickets as the Windwards were bowled out for 115.

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan

Emmet Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist