Irish cricket has received a major boost with the ICC’s decision to grant the Inter-Provincial Championship first-class status.
Matches in the Twenty20 and 50-over formats in the competition will also be elevated to List A status.
It is the first time a domestic competition has been given first-class status outside a Test-playing country.
“This reflects the standard of inter-pro cricket on show,” said Leinster Lightning captain John Anderson.
The news was also welcomed by Ireland head coach John Bracewell.
“First-class cricket is the vital link between part-time cricket and the international game,” he said.
“It is connected to your value in world cricket, historically. This to me is key for Irish-based players willing to make the sacrifices necessary to reach the standards required to compete at the pinnacle of our sport.
“Over the last two seasons watching domestic cricket in Ireland I have seen consistent performances from top quality cricketers who deserve to have these recognised.
“The standard of play is not only highly competitive but also first class in its output.”
Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom outlined the importance of the decision to award first-class status to the Irish domestic game.
He said: “It’s significant as it elevates the perception of the competition, and places the inter-pros statistically and status-wise at the same level of all first-class cricket around the world in established Test nations.
“Playing first-class domestic cricket is a significant milestone on our long-stated journey to become a Test nation and is what the full members do – if we want to be considered among the front rank of nations, then so must we.”