Ireland and Afghanistan become Test nations

Ireland and Afghanistan have become full members of the ICC and have been awarded Test match status, the International Cricket Council announced on Thursday.

Afghanistan has been granted Test status.   -  Vivek Bendre

Afghanistan and Ireland have been confirmed as Full Members by the International Cricket Council (ICC), meaning they will be able to play Test matches.

The pair had been Associate Members, but made applications to earn top status and become the first new Full Members since Bangladesh in 2000.

Read: Lalchand Rajput elated with Afghanistan's Test status

The ICC made the announcement on Thursday after "a recommendation that their applications met newly approved member criteria".

It will put them on a level playing field with the likes of India, South Africa and Australia and marks a meteoric rise for both.

READ: Ireland hopes Test status ends exodus to England

The decision, signed off by the ICC following a unanimous vote at its AGM in London, takes the number of Full Member nations to 12.

It was met with delight by the Afghanistan Cricket Board and Cricket Ireland, with Ireland batsman Gary Wilson tweeting: "An historic day for Irish cricket. Years worth of work feels like it has been recognised.

"There are many people in the background that have made this happen. Current officials, players and management have been major cogs, but let's not forget the tireless volunteers who worked so many years to get us where we are.

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"Men who played for free and managed for free. Good men no longer with us like John Wright and John Caldwell, no doubt there are others.

"As well as for us, this is for them. No doubt they would be as delighted as we are. Here's to the beginning."

Both have proven their worth in the shorter formats, with Ireland having claimed a famous World Cup win over England in 2011.

Afghanistan is ranked ninth in the T20 world rankings.

It was also announced that the ICC would afford each board member – including Full Member and Associate Member directors, as well as the independent chairman and independent director – an equal vote on all resolutions.

Finally, a new financial model was unanimously agreed, "giving greater equality in the distribution of ICC income".

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