11th and 12th team to get Test status: Afghanistan and Ireland

Till Valhalla

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Eleven cricketers who could play Tests for Ireland

:ar: Steven Mullaney
> In some ways, he's the typical county pro: tidy batsman, medium-pace bowler and no real prospect of playing for England. He does, however, have the heritage he needs to represent Ireland, and his strong performances in televised games for Nottinghamshire speak of a big-match temperament that is ideal for a Test cricketer.

:bat: Nick Larkin
> After a brace of Ireland appearances against Sri Lanka 'A', Nick Larkin returned to his native Australia and has since broken into the New South Wales team. A Sheffield Shield best of 130 suggests that he's good enough to command a place in the Irish top order if he wants to.

:bat: Sean Terry
> The Irish son of a German-born England player, Sean Terry's best performances have been against the red ball. His six half-centuries in a fledgeling first-class career speak of someone willing to knuckle down, although he still needs to prove he's got a big innings in his locker.

:ar: Rob Keogh
> A highly experienced batting all-rounder for Northamptonshire, Keogh is eligible for Irish selection thanks to his family heritage. With career bests of 221 and nine for 52 with bat and ball respectively, he has the ability to put in Test-class performances.

:bat: Jack Tector
> Jack Tector was a player whose talents had been recognised by several English counties, but since his 2017 Interpro season has been particularly impressive: he averages over 50 in all three formats, and his T20 strike rate of 160 shows impressive adaptability. Still only 20 years old, Tector has a future in green in all three formats.

:bat: James McCollum
> McCollum has played some first-class cricket for Durham MCCU, but it is his recent unbeaten century against a strong Leinster team which merits his inclusion. After coming to the crease in the fourth over of the innings, only his Knights teammates' failure to support him could bring his innings to a close on an unbeaten 119.

:wk: Lorcan Tucker
> He's currently only Ireland's fourth-choice wicket-keeper, though a clutch of Twenty20 appearances in green show that the Leinsterman is in the selectors' thoughts. With Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson not getting any younger, and serious question marks about the glovework of Stuart Poynter, Tucker can still press his case for inclusion.

:ar: Mark Adair
> Bowling all-rounder Mark Adair is far from the finished article, but at only 21 years old he has already broken into a strong Warwickshire first team on several occasions. A little bit of extra pace and height could make him the natural successor to the oft-injured Boyd Rankin.

:bwl: Robert McKinley
> Although not yet a full Irish international, McKinley has some impressive performances behind him, none more so than when he took three for 67 against a Nottinghamshire side including seven full internationals (Brendan Taylor, Alex Hales, James Taylor, Samit Patel, Chris Read, Jake Ball and Harry Gurney). His experience playing against players of this quality in his time at Loughborough University will be crucial, and at the young age of 23 he has a bright future ahead of him.

:bwl: Bobby Gamble
> Another Loughborough MCCU representative, Gamble reportedly bowls with a little more pace than McKinley. Though he has yet to record any outstanding performances in first-class cricket, he has been identified as someone with leadership qualities, having been made Loughborough MCCU captain this year.

:bwl: Simon Kerrigan
> Simon Kerrigan is the only player on this list with Test experience. Almost four years ago, he endured a harrowing debut in an Ashes Test, and has been frozen out of international cricket ever since. It would be a remarkable comeback story if he made an international return for a new country and succeeded.
I am definitely out of touch but no Dockrell?
 

Chewie

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Could have a test against Ireland/Afghanistan as a warmup game for a tour of England/India/Pakistan instead of playing a county side
 

Epic

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Could have a test against Ireland/Afghanistan as a warmup game for a tour of England/India/Pakistan instead of playing a county side
I like this, the only problem I see is those warm-up games do provide some experience against international sides for A teams and county players, but in the grand scheme of things that experience would much better be served given to Ireland and Afghanistan.

Tbh, might as well add Zimbabwe to these 2 countries and feature them on tours to South Africa.
 
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Aoun13

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Its high time to start tiers based championships in all formats. It should be two tiers in tests with bottom 2 teams replaced with the top 2 teams from the lower tier. The cycle should be of 4 years and there should be a 5 match test series between the top two teams to decide the champion, may be 2 matches in one country and 2 in the other and 1 as a neutral.
 
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Satan666

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Its high time to start tiers based championships in all formats. It should be two tiers in tests with bottom 2 teams replaced with the top 2 teams from the lower tier. The cycle should be of 4 years and there should be a 5 match test series between the top two teams to decide the champion, may be 2 matches in one country and 2 in the other and 1 as a neutral.

Yeah couldnt agree more! The downside of this though is marque series like the Ashes could get thrown off, perhaps a system where the boards can still go out the league and arrange certain tours!
 

AliB

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Its high time to start tiers based championships in all formats. It should be two tiers in tests with bottom 2 teams replaced with the top 2 teams from the lower tier. The cycle should be of 4 years and there should be a 5 match test series between the top two teams to decide the champion, may be 2 matches in one country and 2 in the other and 1 as a neutral.
Absolutely, ICC needs members like you in the approving committee.
 

Aislabie

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Now that we have twelve teams, a proper league schedule wouldn't need tiers at all - at least not to keep teams separate.

Twelve is a really useful number because it has so many factors: 2, 3, 4 and 6 are all useful for scheduling purposes. For the sake of argument, I'll use three tiers of four as my arrangement, and use the present Test rankings in order to seed them.

Tier 1
:ind: India (1)
:saf: South Africa (2)
:aus: Australia (3)
:eng: England (4)

Tier 2
:nzf: New Zealand (5)
:pak: Pakistan (6)
:sri: Sri Lanka (7)
:wi: West Indies (8)

Tier 3
:ban: Bangladesh (9)
:zim: Zimbabwe (10)
:afg: Afghanistan (11)
:ire: Ireland (12)

Then, when scheduling Test series, make it mandatory that each country has to play one three-match WTC Test series at home against a team from each tier, and one away from home against a team from each tier. For example, this could give the following sort of schedule:

:eng: England World Test League Schedule (proposed)
Home vs South Africa :saf: (T1, H)
Away vs Australia :aus: (T1, A)
Home vs Sri Lanka :sri: (T2, H)
Away vs West Indies :wi: (T2, A)
Home vs Ireland :ire: (T3, H)
Away vs Bangladesh :ban: (T3, A)

Those six series would give a total of eighteen WTC matches, which is easily manageable in two years, but more likely to be spread across three so that England and Australia have time to prune the magic money tree that is the Ashes, and so that India have plenty of time to arrange bilateral series with Sri Lanka.

:eng: England Word Test League Results (hypothetical)
Home vs South Africa (T1, H) :eng: 2-1 :saf:
Away vs Australia (T1, A) :aus: 1-1 :eng:
Home vs Sri Lanka (T2, H) :eng: 2-0 :sri:
Away vs West Indies (T2, A) :wi: 0-2 :eng:
Home vs Ireland (T3, H) :eng: 3-0 :ire:
Away vs Bangladesh (T3, A) :ban: 0-1 :eng:

Of course the standings you get depend on the points system. Test match results shall give points as: 3-1-0 for W-D-L results, while a Test series gives out 5-2-0. As you can see from this points system, I'm trying to really incentivise winning and positive cricket.

|P|W|D|L|S-Pts||P|W|D|L|T-Pts||Tot. Pts
:eng: England |6|5|1|0| 27 | |18|11|5|2| 38 | | 65 points
This admittedly arbitrary set of results sets the bat very high for any team aspiring to beat England. With 60 points out of a possible 84, they would be in a very strong position on the rankings table, a rankings table where for the first time ever, every team has played the same amount of Tests against the same level of opposition.

The Finals
Let us imagine a World Test Championship Finals series being held for the first time in England, because Lord's said so. If England failed to qualify for the Final through the normal means, they would be awarded wildcard entry anyway. Otherwise, it belongs to the next best ranked team.

||Details|
1|:ind: India (1) |Like 70-odd points|QUALIFIED (Asia 1)
2|:eng: England (4) |65 points|QUALIFIED (Atlantic)
3|:aus: Australia (3) |About 60 points|QUALIFIED (Oceania)
4|:saf: South Africa (2) |Just under 60 points|QUALIFIED (Africa)
5|:nzf: New Zealand (5) |About 50 points|QUALIFIED (Wildcard)
6|:pak: Pakistan (6) |High-40s points|QUALIFIED (Asia 2)
7|:sri: Sri Lanka (7) |Low-40s, mostly at home|DNQ (Asia)
8|:ban: Bangladesh (9)| High 30s|DNQ (Asia)
9|:wi: West Indies (8) |Mid-30s|DNQ (Atlantic)
10|:afg: Afghanistan (11) |Mid-20s|DNQ (Asia)
11|:zim: Zimbabwe (10) |High teens|DNQ (Africa)
12|:ire: Ireland (12) |Like, low teens?|DNQ (Atlantic)

Those top six teams could then joust it out in a four-week tournament (two groups of three, into a final - seven Tests in total). The point is, a World Test Championship is vital, to let's have a bit of thinking outside the box for how this can be conducted. In this case, the finals is a two-groups-of-three tournament, so the finalists play three Tests in four weeks. Not too taxing.

Hopefully that all made sense - I'm very tired.
 

Aoun13

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Yeah couldnt agree more! The downside of this though is marque series like the Ashes could get thrown off, perhaps a system where the boards can still go out the league and arrange certain tours!
That's why I haven't proposed any WC like tournament where all matches are crammed up in space of couple of months. 4 years cycle is enough to keep the traditional series in parallel, probably more joyous since now such series will have another reward. Also as an outsider I feel Ashes after couple of years will be more enjoyable and hence 1 home and 1 away ashes can be easily accommodate in a 4 years cycle.
Well that was little off-topic, but the actual benefit of proper championship is for the so called lower tier teams. We have seen that with the present system teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and to some extent even West Indies are struggling to get proper test series. It will be difficult for Ireland and Afghanistan to get proper series schedule for the next 5 years atleast. Tiers based championship will not only guarantee them few series but they will have a clear goal to improve.
 

PresidentEvil

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A bit late to the party but yeah, happy to see two deserving teams getting the test status. Although, they need to play more games and be consistent to improve their game. Both the teams are hardworking and I hope to see them being competitive within next WC and strike-off that 'one sided team' tag lines.

Is there any domestic leagues for Afghanistan and Ireland through which they can groom more talent? I really want to see the players participate in domestic FC competition to get that consistency in the national side. It will also give some good pool of players from which the selectors can pick the national squad.
 

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Is there any domestic leagues for Afghanistan and Ireland through which they can groom more talent? I really want to see the players participate in domestic FC competition to get that consistency in the national side. It will also give some good pool of players from which the selectors can pick the national squad.
Afghanistan already have a T20 league, and both countries' 4-day competitions had been granted FC status last year.
 

StinkyBoHoon

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tiers do not work. cricket is far too dependent on marquee nations to a) create adverts for the game by playing each other, and b) help generate money for other nations where they are bigger draws.

consign sri lanka to playing new zealand and the west indies will damage everyone involved long term and zimbabwe, ireland, afghanistan and bangladesh will lose money only playing each other.

not to mention the fact that the marquee teams that everyone feels should be the top tier routinely have down periods that drop them out, if england lose this series against south africa they drop to 5th and New Zealand go 4th.
 
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Satan666

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tiers do not work. cricket is far too dependent on marquee nations to a) create adverts for the game by playing each other, and b) help generate money for other nations where they are bigger draws.

consign sri lanka to playing new zealand and the west indies will damage everyone involved long term and zimbabwe, ireland, afghanistan and bangladesh will lose money only playing each other.

not to mention the fact that the marquee teams that everyone feels should be the top tier routinely have down periods that drop them out, if england lose this series against south africa they drop to 5th and New Zealand go 4th.

Obviously things cant continue as they are.....

Also you cant make the statement 'tiers do not work' as tier systems have never been introduced to international cricket.

Its a bit idiotic to think Australia or South Africa will play a 5 test series in Ireland within the next decade or two, so your argument is null, void and baseless.
 

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