Ireland and Afghanistan have attained Test status after being awarded full membership by the International Cricket Council.
The move means the two countries become full members of the ICC, cricket’s global governing body, and expands the number of Test-playing nations from 10 to 12.
The ICC met for its annual conference in London on Thursday and confirmed Ireland and Afghanistan as full members after a unanimous vote.
Ireland have been playing as affiliate members since 1993 and have recorded memorable limited overs victories over Pakistan, England and the West Indies in that time.
Now they will be able to play Test cricket against the world’s best, as will Afghanistan – who only achieved affiliate membership in 2013.
Cricket has become hugely popular in the war-torn country and Afghanistan took part in the 2015 World Cup, while spinner Rashid Khan is in the ICC top 10 rankings for ODI bowlers and T20 international bowlers.
The ICC confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon, posting on Twitter: @ACBofficials and @Irelandcricket confirmed as Full Members after a unanimous vote at ICC Full Council meeting.
Both will now be eligible to play Test cricket following a recommendation that their applications met newly approved member criteria.
It has been almost 20 years since Bangladesh became the last country to be granted Test status.
(c) Sky News 2017: Ireland and Afghanistan to play Test cricket after ICC vote