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Ireland are set to benefit from a revamp of top-level cricket

By David Clough

The structure of Test and one-day international cricket appears set for a radical and much-anticipated overhaul after consensus on the future was reached at a high-level meeting - with Ireland set to be granted Test status.

Proposals agreed by the International Cricket Council's chief executives committee will pave the way for a Test league to be run over each two-year period, and a 13-team ODI format to be introduced too by 2019.

There will be no confirmation of plans set to be put forward to the ICC board until, at the earliest, the next meeting of the governing body's top brass in April.

However, indications are - after day two of three in the current round of talks in Dubai - that there is agreement between administrators from member nations as to the best way forward for all Test-playing countries.

It follows several months of suggestions and consultations to try to identify the most advantageous method of reorganisation for Test cricket especially - in which competition has existed on a bi-lateral basis for almost 140 years without significant change.

ICC chief executive Dave Richardson has made it clear that in his opinion evolution is nigh.

"Doing nothing is not an option any more," he said.

The likelihood is the top nine Test-playing countries will be joined by Zimbabwe and two others.

That will be heartening for Ireland, who have long had their eyes on a Test as well as ODI and Twenty20 future.

It remains to be seen if there will be any implications for the staging of so-called 'icon' series such as the Ashes or several of those involving India.

Belfast Telegraph

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