Last week the ICC Board made a decision which could see Afghanistan playing Test Cricket in 2018. The ICC Board approved the introduction of an ICC Test Challenge which will take place every four years between the lowest ranked Test team and the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup. The proposal is that the 10th ranked side on the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings on 31 December 2017, or at the conclusion of any series in progress at that time, will play two five-day matches at home and two five-day matches away against the winner of the upcoming ICC Intercontinental Cup, with the inaugural Challenge scheduled to take place during 2018. In the next eight years, two ICC Intercontinental Cup tournaments are planned with the first to run from 2015 to 2017 and the second to be held between 2019 and 2021. The second ICC Test Challenge is scheduled for 2022.
ACB Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Noor Mohammad Murad, said: “This decision opens the door for Afghanistan and other Associate Members to play Test cricket. We are tremendously grateful to the ICC for opening this new pathway and will be working very hard to ensure that we win the Intercontinental Cup in 2017 and play our first Test Cricket in 2018.” South Africa has recently topped the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings followed by Australia, India, England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh is the 10th ranked team.