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. 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.
Although all the signs were that both Ireland and Afghanistan’s applications to join the other 10 Test-playing nations had ticked all the 21 boxes required, the vagaries of international cricketing politics left nobody 100 per cent certain until the tweet was sent out to confirm a unanimous decision had been taken by the full council of the ICC at its annual conference at The Oval in London.
More to follow… pic.twitter.com/HXCw2HwDAW
— ICC (@ICC) 22 June 2017
ICC also released a video Friday morning welcoming the two nations. The video was posted on twitter handle of ICC.
— ICC (@ICC) 23 June 2017
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, commenting on the occasion 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.”
Afghanistan Cricket Board Chief Executive Shafiq Stanikzai said, “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. 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.”
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom said, “We are delighted and proud with today’s historic announcement. It is an extraordinary testament to the talent and endeavour of thousands of passionate players, coaches, volunteers, staff, clubs and committee people.
“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.”
Bangladesh were previously the last country to be granted Test status in 2000. Afghanistan and Ireland have joined an exclusive club that also includes founder members Australia and England, who played the first Test match at Melbourne in 1877, South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.