Afghanistan and Ireland have been approved as Full Members by the ICC, meaning they have become cricket's 11th and 12th Test-playing nations. This was signed off on by the ICC Board in London on Thursday, during the ICC's AGM.
War-torn Afghanistan has made rapid strides with their premier leg-spinner Rashid Khan making waves in T20 franchise leagues including IPL. Recently, they beat West Indies in an ODI drawing an away series 1-1.
Afghanistan Cricket Board Chief Executive Shafiq Stanikzai said: ”For a nation like Afghanistan, it is a huge and remarkable achievement, the entire nation will be celebrating across all five regions and different provinces, it is the perfect Eid gift.
“Everyone has waited for this news and has been so keen to hear this news. Afghanistan Cricket has gone from strength to strength and we dared to dream that this would happen and today it has become a reality.”
Stanikzai thanked the ICC Board members for their support.
“I would like to thank the ICC and the Board who have demonstrated today that they are committed to growing the global game and rewarding nations who are performing on and off the field. As an administrator, every achievement is huge and it opens the doors to new challenges and we need to work hard to maintain and sustain our development at the top of the cricket world.”
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom was ewually ecstatic.
“We are delighted and proud with today’s historic announcement. It is an extraordinary testament to the talent and endeavour of thousands of passionate players, coaches, volunteers, staff, clubs and committee people.”
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said:”I would like to congratulate Afghanistan and Ireland on their Full Membership status which is the result of their dedication to improving performance both off and on the field resulting in the significant development and growth of cricket in their respective countries.
“Both have clearly demonstrated they meet the new criteria and as such have made the progression to Full Membership.”