The ICC board meeting in Dubai has resulted in Associate sides Afghanistan and Ireland granted more funding to grow the game, with the aim of having them play more bilateral series in future.
With Afghanistan growing in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and Ireland determined to play Test cricket, the ICC want to see the teams compete at the highest level with further funding.
A statement read: “The Board approved a short-term ODI fund of $500K each for Afghanistan Cricket Board and Cricket Ireland.
“The fund is being provided to the two countries to allow them the opportunity to schedule more bilateral series, which, in turn, will support their bid to improve their team rankings and claims to secure direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
“In January 2014, the two Members were added to the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings of 12 teams, while England and the next seven highest-ranked sides as on 30 September 2017 will automatically qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
“In addition to this, the two countries also participate in the ICC funded Intercontinental Cup, which is a pathway to Test cricket.”