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Minnows set to get Test shot.

ICC Board approves plan for Associates

ONE OF the top non- Test playing nations will get an opportunity to play Test match cricket in 2018, the International Cricket Council ( ICC) announced on Thursday after an executive board meeting in Dubai.

Calling it the ' ICC Test Challenge', the game's world governing body said that the bottom ranked team of the 10 Test nations would play the winner of the ICC Inter- Continental Cup to determine who would progress to play five- day Test matches.

As per the proposal, said the ICC, the 10th ranked

country on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings on December 31, 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 Inter- Continental Cup. The first ICC Test Challenge is scheduled to take place in 2018.

The ICC, however, didn't mention whether the winner of Inter- Continental Cup would surely progress to play Test matches even if the 10th ranked Test team wins all or a majority of the four qualifying matches.

"In the next eight years, two ICC Inter- Continental 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," said an ICC statement.

Currently, Bangladesh are placed 10th and Zimbabwe are ninth on the ICC rankings, and both countries will have to work extra hard to climb up the ladder before December 2017 to avoid playing an ICC Associate Member.

"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 CEO David

Richardson said.

At the executive board meeting, members followed up on the resolutions passed at the Singapore conclave on February 8. They agreed on a long- term plan to support the implementation of those resolutions that 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," said the statement.

One of the cornerstones of the new financial model is the Future Tours Programme ( FTP), which has now been extended until 2023.

The members, encouraged by the success of the ICC World T20 in Bangladesh this month, also decided that the 16- team format, comprising a qualifying round, would be used again for the 2016 ICC World T20 in India.

The executive board ratified the appointment of Australia coach Darren Lehmann and the West Indies coach Ottis Gibson as the representatives of national coaches on the ICC Cricket Committee following the completion of Gary Kirsten's term.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Apr 11, 2014
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