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ICC paves way for Associate members like Netherlands and Afghanistan to get Test status

ICC paves way for Associate members like UAE and Nepal to gain Test status with the introduction of the Test Challenge that will take place every four years between the lowest-ranked Test team and the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup

Dubai: The ICC on Thursday paved the way for Associate Members to earn Test status by introducing the 'ICC Test Challenge' which will take place every four years between the lowest-ranked Test team and winner of ICC Inter-Continental Cup.

The decision, taken at the ICC's Executive Board meeting, will effectively mean that one among Bangladesh and Zimbabwe --- the two lowest-ranked Test teams in ICC rankings will have to fight it out with the likes of The Netherlands, Ireland or UAE for Test status.

"The ICC 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," a media release issued by ICC said. 

"The proposal is that the 10th ranked side on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings on 31 December 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, with the inaugural Challenge scheduled to take place during 2018," it said.

Wesley Baressi and Niall O'BrienNetherlands batsman Wesley Baressi (L) plays a shot as Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien (R) looks on during the 2011 World Cup tie at The Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium in Kolkata. Pic/AFP

In the next eight years, two ICC Intercontinental Cup tournaments are planned with the first to run from 2015 to 2017 and the second to be held between 2019 and 2021.

The second ICC Test Challenge is scheduled for 2022.

"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," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson was quoted as saying by the release.

At the meeting, the board members followed up on the resolutions passed at the ICC Board Meeting in Singapore on February 8, 2014.

"The ICC Board members agreed on a long-term work plan to support the implementation of those resolutions which do not require constitutional change," the release stated.

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

Richardson, on his part, said,"The FTP is a very important piece of work as it gives Members long-term certainty in relation to both their playing schedule and financial planning.

"Significant progress has been made but there is still work to be done to develop a balanced calendar of tours and finalise these agreements."

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) also came in for lot of praise for a very successful organization of the recently concluded ICC World T20.

"The ICC Board thanked the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) for the successful staging of the ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 and praised the Bangladesh government, security agencies and the general public for their contributions and support."

ICC President Alan Isaac said:"The ICC World Twenty20 Bangladesh 2014 was an extremely successful event which was thoroughly enjoyed by the players, officials, spectators and media. A lot of credit must be given to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and the ICC team for putting up a memorable show."

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.

It was also decided in the meeting that format and qualification process of the ICC World Twenty20 scheduled to be held in India in 2016 will also have the same format.

"The ICC Board agreed that the same format be retained for the ICC World Twenty20 events in 2016, which will be staged in India. For the 2016 event, the top eight Full Members on the Reliance ICC T20I Team Rankings as on 30 April 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 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, which will be staged in Ireland and Scotland from 9 July to 2 August 2015 during which a total of 51 matches will be played."

The ICC Cricket Committee will have Australian coach Darren Lehmann and West Indies' Ottis Gibson as the representatives of national coaches as Gary Kirsten is set to complete his term.

Among the other updates, the Board also considered a general update on anti-corruption and integrity while the IDI Board received a report from the Finance & Commercial Affairs Committee.

It includes updates on the commercial rights post-2015, Host and Members' Participation Agreements for the next commercial rights cycle, online piracy, event forecasts and audited financial statements for 2013.

The next ICC and IDI Board meetings will take place during the ICC Annual Conference week in Melbourne in June 2014.

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