Sports

Ireland to play their first Test in May

Ireland to play their first Test in May

Joe Root's side could also be involved in four-day Test matches in new proposals accepted by the International Cricket Council at its board meeting in Auckland, New Zealand.

Qualification by this method was finalised after Windies lost the first match of their ODI series against England in September 2017, meaning they were unable to climb up top the 8th spot in the ICC ODI rankings by the cut-off date.

Ireland, the UAE and Scotland were also vying to have the matches played in their countries but Zimbabwe was given the nod after ICC chairman Shashank Manohar visited the country in August. Netherlands will host the ICC Women's World Twenty20 Qualifier.

"Bar none, every (ICC member team) likes the idea of hosting a Test championship (final) but whether that works logistically or not is another matter", he added.

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. The teams will be required to play at least two Tests while it can be expanded to five Tests in a series as well. "It's all positive. The Ashes will continue to be the biggest Test event that we play, but these matches will have even greater meaning than they do now, if that's possible".

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South Africa will play Zimbabwe in cricket's first four-day test on December 26 and Richardson said that while the concept was still in the trial phase it should help Afghanistan and Ireland, who were granted test status in June, get up to speed faster.

The ICC has also given the green light to a 13-team one-day worldwide league which will begin in 2020 and lead to direct qualification to the Cricket World Cup. It will be contested by the 12 full members plus the winners of the current ICC World Cricket League Championship. While in the first cycle, each team will be playing four home and four away series, with each series comprising of three ODIs, the second cycle will include all teams playing each other.

Richardson confirmed: "Starting in 2020 and in that two-year period leading up to the Cricket World Cup in 2023, those 13 teams will play eight series".

The qualifiers will be a 10-team event with the top two sides getting entry into the tournament proper to be held in the United Kingdom in 2019.

Richardson said countries were welcome to experiment with four-day test matches but they would not count towards the championship. The Test, though, has to go ahead as a trial, David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said.

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