DUBAI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced the dates for the first round of fixtures for the four-day first-class ICC Intercontinental Cup 2015-17, which features Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Namibia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The side that wins the round-robin league will play the bottom-ranked Test team on the ICC Test Team Rankings in the ICC Test Challenge in 2018.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The ICC Intercontinental Cup is now the platform for emerging nations to fulfil 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.”
Scotland won the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup in 2004, beating Canada in the final, while Ireland has been victorious on four occasions (2005, 2006-07, 20007-08 and 2011-13), while Afghanistan clinched the 2009-10 tournament.
The ICC World Cricket League Championship will be played in conjunction with the ICC Intercontinental Cup 2015-17. The one-day tournament includes Kenya and Nepal which will have replaced Afghanistan and Ireland, as these two nations are now on the Future Tours Programme.