It is the dream of every aspiring cricketer to represent his nation in test cricket – the ultimate and the purest form of cricket. But how agonizing is the fact that not just individuals, but several countries cannot play tests because of their low rankings and the associate status. Playing test matches is the premier goal of all cricketers and sides. The associates have time and again vocally expressed their desire to play test matches.
But now finally, the associate nations can live their dream of playing test cricket. The driving force behind this positive move has been the ICC Inter Continental Cup, which is regulated by the supreme governing body of cricket, the ICC.
The ICC, in a recent press release said that the Inter Continental Cup will comprise of several four day first class matches. Numerous associate nations such as Ireland, Kenya, Afghanistan, Netherlands, Canada and a few others will participate in the tournament. The format of the Inter Continental Cup will be that of a round robin. The team that wins the round robin stage will compete with the lowest ranked test team from the Reliance ICC Test Team Rankings in the ICC Test Challenge in 2018.
Dave Richardson, the chief executive of the ICC was quoted saying, “The ICC Intercontinental Cup is now the platform for emerging nations to fulfill their ambitions of playing Test cricket. It will therefore be fantastic to see the strongest Associates face off in an exciting competition, with great context, that will showcase world cricket’s growing pool of talent.”
“This event, funded by ICC, forms part of the ICC’s global development programme. As preparations intensify ahead of the opening round in Namibia this weekend, I would like to wish all of the competing nations the best of luck,” concluded Richardson.
The inaugural tournament was won by Scotland in 2004. Afghanistan won it in 2009-10; while Ireland has been victorious on four occasions (2005, 2006-07, 20007-08 and 2011-13).