Ireland have been granted full membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC), meaning they are now eligible to play Test match cricket.
In an historic announcement from London this afternoon, the ICC confirmed that both Ireland and Afghanistan have been granted full member status.
The news will transform cricket in Ireland, with a financial windfall on its way to the game on this island.
The granting of Test status will fulfil a lifelong ambition for the likes of legendary batsman Ed Joyce, who is playing on in expectation of a treasured first Test cap.
Ireland and Afghanistan, indisputably the best two Associate nations in the world, are the first two countries to be granted Test match status since Bangladesh became a full member back in 2000.
The news was welcomed by Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom, who along with his team has worked tirelessly over the past decade for Ireland’s elevation.
“It’s fantastic news for all involved with Irish cricket and I’d like to thank ICC and the members for the positive outcome,” said a clearly delighted Deutrom. “It’s obviously a great fillip for the game in Ireland, where we are striving to make Ireland not only a major nation in cricket, but also to make cricket a major mainstream sport in the country.
“Test cricket is the pinnacle of the sport and it’s what we’ve all been aiming for. The players have been very clear in their stated objective of wanting to play at the very highest level of the game and it’s clearly a momentous day that we will be able to do that in the very near future,” added Deutrom.
“The sport has grown substantially since 2007, with participation levels quadrupling in that time. With the increased profile and revenue streams that will come with achieving Full Membership, this can only get even better as we invest in the sport throughout the country.
“I’d like to thank all those involved with Irish cricket for their drive, enthusiasm and energy over the years which has made this journey an ultimately successful one. We are all justifiably very proud today, but we see this not as the end of the road, but just the first step in taking our wonderful sport further and higher in the years ahead.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield is relishing the opportunity to lead Ireland in a Test match, which he admits would be ‘a bit special’. “It’s wonderful news for all of Irish cricket, with all the players already talking about playing in a Test match for the first time,” said Porterfield.