The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday announced that both Ireland and Afghanistan have been awarded Test-match status.
The decision was made after a unanimous vote at the ICC Council Meeting in London.
This move means that both teams have also become full members of the ICC, the cricket’s global governing body, which has expanded the number of Test-playing nations from 10 to 12.
The long wait is over
Ireland have been looking to obtain Test status for a decade. Their cricket has been steadily progressing since they qualified for the 2007 World Cup, in which they achieved an astonishing win over Pakistan. They have participated in both World Cups since.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan have achieved tremendous success since they obtained their One-Day status in 2011. The Central Asian side qualified for the 2015 World Cup and won their first game in the event by beating Scotland.
Now Afghanistan and Ireland have joined the exclusive Test cricket club which also includes founding members Australia and England along with South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
Before the newly integrated members, Bangladesh were the last country to be granted Test status, almost two decades ago.
Ireland and Afghanistan hail news
Ireland’s batsman and wicket-keeper, Gary Wilson, welcomed the announcement by posting a cheerful statement on his twitter account.
“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,” he said.
The Afghan Cricket Board also expressed its delight at the news.
"Massive thank you to everyone who has played their part in making the dream of Full Membership of ICC a reality," it declared on its Twitter account.