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Opportunity for Associates to play Test matches in ’18

Calcutta: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to expand the arena for Test cricket by providing the Associate nations an opportunity to play in the longest and oldest format of the game.

The matter was discussed and approved at the ICC’s two-day Board meeting, which concluded on Thursday, in Dubai. The Board approved the introduction of an ICC Test Challenge which will take place every four years between the lowest-ranked Test team and the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

According to the proposal, the tenth ranked side on the ICC Test Team Rankings on December 31 2017, or at the conclusion of any series in progress at that time, will play two five-day matches at home and two five-day matches away against the winner of the upcoming ICC Intercontinental Cup.

The inaugural Test Challenge will take place in 2018.

In the next eight years, two Intercontinental Cups are planned with the first to run from 2015 to 2017 and the second to be held between 2019 and 2021. The second Test Challenge is scheduled for 2022.

Since the Intercontinental Cup’s inception in 2004, Ireland have won it four times, with Afghanistan and Scotland winning one each.

Speaking on the matter, ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “The ICC Test Challenge now opens the door for Associate Members to play Test cricket and in doing so, gives even greater context to the ICC Intercontinental Cup which will now be a pathway to Test cricket.”

The other significant matters that were discussed at the meeting were:

Reform of governance and financial models — Further to the resolutions passed at the ICC Board meeting in Singapore on February 8, 2014, the ICC Board members agreed a long-term work plan to support the implementation of those resolutions which do not require constitutional change.

At the same time the ICC Board authorised the drawing up of the necessary constitutional amendments which will be placed before the Full Council at the ICC Annual Conference to be held in Melbourne at the end of June.

One of the important aspects of the new financial model is an extended Future Tours Programme (FTP) which will now run until 2023.

ICC Cricket Committee — The Board ratified the appointment of Australia coach Darren Lehmann and the West Indies coach Ottis Gibson as the representatives of national coaches on the ICC Cricket Committee following the completion of former India and South Africa coach Gary Kirsten’s term.

2014 World T20 — The ICC Board thanked the Bangladesh Cricket Board for the successful staging of the World T20 and praised the Bangladesh government, security agencies and the general public for their contributions and support. The ICC Board also congratulated Sri Lanka for winning the men’s title and Australia’s women for completing a hat-trick of titles.

Format and qualification process for 2016 World T20 — Following the success of the 2014 World T20, the ICC Board agreed that the same format be retained for the World T20 events in 2016, which will be staged in India. For the 2016 event, the top eight Full Members on the ICC T20 International Team Rankings as on April 30, 2014 will automatically qualify for the second round, while the ninth and 10th ranked Full Members will get automatic places in the first round. The six qualifiers will progress from the 14-team World T20 Qualifier 2015, which will be staged in Ireland and Scotland from July 9 to August 2, 2015.