ICC reveal Test Challenge plan
An England-Ireland Test match at Lord's could become a reality after the ICC specified its pathway to the top table for associate members.
Under the new proposal, confirmed at a two-day meeting at the ICC's headquarters in Dubai, a play-off will take place every four years between the lowest ranked Test team and the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup.
The 10th ranked side on the ICC Test Team Rankings on 31 December 2017, or at the end 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 ICC Intercontinental Cup.
Under the proposed timescale, the inaugural Challenge would place in 2018, with the victor earning their place in a four-year Test match cycle.
Two ICC Intercontinental Cup tournaments are planned over the next eight years, with the first due to run from 2015 to 2017 and the next between 2019 and 2021.
The second ICC Test Challenge is scheduled for 2022.
"The ICC Test Challenge now opens the door for Associate Members to play Test cricket and in doing so gives even greater context to the ICC Intercontinental Cup, which will now be a pathway to Test cricket," said ICC Chief Executive David Richardson.