Published: Sat, October 14, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Ireland to play their first Test in May

Ireland to play their first Test in May

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has approved plans for a new Test championship, a one-day international (ODI) league and the trial of four-day Test matches.

Nine teams will play six series over the new two-year Test championship - three each home and away - with each series having a minimum of two Tests and a maximum of five. Three bids were under consideration; one from Zimbabwe, one from the United Arab Emirates and a joint-bid from Ireland and Scotland. "This means fans around the world can enjoy worldwide cricket knowing every game counts, and in the case of the ODI league, that it counts towards qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup". The teams will be required to play at least two Tests while it can be expanded to five Tests in a series as well.

The decision to play Zimbabwe on Boxing Day was taken by Cricket South Africa (CSA) after the Indian tour, which was due to take place over that period, got pushed back because of scheduling reasons.

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Ireland and Afghanistan were given test status in June.

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Ireland played their first one-day worldwide against England in 2006 and qualified for the World Cup the following year, where they beat Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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ICC Chief Executive Dave Richardson told reporters in Auckland on Friday that while details still needed to be worked out, the test championship would commence after the 50-overs World Cup in 2019 and culminate with a final in mid-2021. The ODI league will first have a two-year cycle ahead of the 2023 World Cup. "The top eight will qualify automatically for the World Cup".

A set of playing conditions for four-day Tests is set to be drawn up by ICC management in coming weeks.

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