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Ian Chappell: Test status should be revoked from Ireland, Afghanistan and two other teams

Ian Chappel (L), Afghanistan captain Mohammad Nabi and Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie (R)
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Ian Chappell has argued that Test status should be revoked from four of the current Test-playing nations, including Ireland and Afghanistan.

The fraught state of the Test format, along with international cricket’s changing relevance, is a constant source of discussion within the game. That has only been heightened with the rise of franchise leagues, putting added strain on cricket’s calendars and the players who play the sport.

Writing for ESPNcricinfo, Ian Chappell posited that two points are being wrongly disregarded by cricket’s administrators. “There are two big questions that appear to be overlooked by those in charge: How many teams should be playing Tests? And why aren’t administrators working with the players in a partnership to ensure the future of the game?” he wrote.


Chappell went on to argue that Ireland and Afghanistan and two unnamed others of the current 12 Test teams should have their status revoked – presumably Zimbabwe, not part of the World Test Championship, and Bangladesh, bottom of the table. “It makes no sense to reward Afghanistan and Ireland, two recent recipients of Test status, neither of whom have the grounds or the infrastructure to reasonably expect that status,” Chappell said. “Sadly, Test status is best confined to the eight nations who have had a long-standing culture of the format.”

Ireland have several grounds that have hosted international cricket, though no established cricket stadium – although Test cricket in New Zealand is regularly played at grounds surrounded by grass banks, rather than stands. They are also planning to build a permanent stadium in the Sport Ireland campus at Abbotstown, ahead of the 2030 T20 World Cup, which Ireland will co-host. Afghanistan are set to play their ‘home’ Tests in the UAE from now on, at the same grounds that Pakistan called home in that period.

Chappell does not want to remove the opportunity to play Test cricket entirely from Ireland and Afghanistan’s players. Instead, he suggests “combination teams composed of interested players who represent non-Test status teams” should compete for the right to play against the eight Test nations.

“Teams should still have to fulfil infrastructure and financial requirements to qualify for Test status,” he said. “This would require a second-tier competition, where teams that perform well could state their case for Test status qualification.”

It is worth noting that Afghanistan and Ireland did have to fulfil criteria to be given Full Member status, including having a functioning first-class structure, and both countries continue to play long-form cricket domestically. Both teams also dominated the ICC’s second-tier competition, the ICC Intercontinental Cup, for over a decade before their elevation. In every edition of the tournament from 2005 onwards, either Ireland or Afghanistan was the champion, and in all but one, the final was contested between those two teams.

*This article was updated to include details of Ireland’s planned stadium at the Sport Ireland campus at Abbotstown.


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