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Afghanistan, Ireland given Test playing status

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The number of Test-playing nations rose to a round dozen after the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday inducted Afghanistan and Ireland as Full Members following a unanimous vote.

The development comes 17 years after Bangladesh were accorded Test status, and following both the Afghanistan and Ireland boards applying to the ICC to have their status upgraded from Associates.


"Afghanistan and Ireland were today confirmed as Full Members of the International Cricket Council (ICC) after a unanimous vote at the ICC Full Council meeting at The Oval," the global cricket body said in a statement after the ICC Full Council meeting at The Oval.

"Both will now be eligible to play Test cricket following a Membership Committee recommendation that the respective Full Member applications from each met the newly approved membership criteria and should be put forward for approval," the statement added.

Congratulating the new entries in the Test arena, ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson said: "I'd like to congratulate Afghanistan and Ireland on their Full Membership status which is the result of their dedication to improving performance both off and on the field resulting in the significant development and growth of cricket in their respective countries."

"Both have clearly demonstrated they meet the new criteria and as such have made the progression to Full Membership," Richardson added.

An elated Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) Chief Executive Shafiq Stanikzai said getting Test status is the perfect Eid gift for the terror-torn nation.

"For a nation like Afghanistan it is a huge and remarkable achievement, the entire nation will be celebrating across all five regions and different provinces, it is the perfect Eid gift," Stanikzai said.

"Everyone has waited for this news and has been so keen to hear this news. Afghanistan Cricket has gone from strength to strength and we dared to dream that this would happen and today it has become a reality.

"I would like to thank the ICC and the Board who have demonstrated today that they are committed to growing the global game and rewarding nations who are performing on and off the field.

"As an administrator every achievement is huge and it opens the doors to new challenges and we need to work hard to maintain and sustain our development at the top of the cricket world," he added.

Ireland's Chief Executive Warren Deutrom said they would spend the next 24 hours rejoicing the landmark day for the sport in their country.

"We would like to thank most sincerely the ICC and its members for bestowing this honour on us today. It is a reflection not just of our past achievements but of our potential to grow our great game.

"We shall spend the next 24 hours marking the moment and celebrating this great day for Irish cricket and next week the hard work of planning to transition to full membership and Test status begins in earnest," he said.

Besides granting Test status to Afghanistan and Ireland, the ICC also decided to appoint a Deputy Chairman, who will take over the reins when Chairman Shashank Manohar, is unable to fulfil his duties.

It was also decided that a female Independent Director with full voting rights will be recruited by the ICC Board.

The voting composition of the ICC Board will also change so that every Board Member -- including Full Member and Associate Member Directors, as well as the Independent Chairman and Independent Director -- will each have equal votes, with a two-thirds majority necessary for a resolution to be approved.

In future, the Chairman of the Associate Members (who comprises one of the three Associate Member Directors) will also be required to be independent of any Member Board.

There was also unanimity in agreement over a new financial model, thereby reversing the 2014 resolutions and giving greater equality in the distribution of ICC income.

Based on current forecast of revenues and costs, BCCI will receive $405 million across the eight-year cycle, England and Wales Cricket Board $139 million, Zimbabwe Cricket $94 million and the seven existing Full Members $128 million each.

The Associate Members (together with Ireland and Afghanistan) will collectively receive funding of $240 million.

The ICC Full Council also voted unanimously to expel United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) following a Board recommendation in April and a recent dispute resolution committee hearing concluded last week.