Ireland tour of Pakistan derailed
IRELAND were all set to become the first team to tour Pakistan in six years before this week’s terrorist attack on Karachi airport.
The attack, in which at least 37 people died, has put paid to that visit, which would have seen Ireland play Pakistan in three ODIs this September.
Pakistan has been unable to host any internationals since 2009 when an attack on the Sri Lanka team’s bus led to the cancellation of all home fixtures.
“We were about to sign an agreement with Ireland to host three ODIs to be played in Lahore in September, but after the Karachi attack, the project has been abandoned,” a senior PCB official said yesterday.
“English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Chairman Giles Clarke was helping out the PCB top brass in developing the project together. The board had convinced Ireland to tour here, but all the good work has gone down the drain.”
Cricket Ireland said yesterday: “I can confirm that Cricket Ireland and the PCB were in advance discussions to play three ODIs in Pakistan in September.
“These discussions had taken place between the respective Chairmen and CEOs over the past three weeks, and had involved contact with ICC, governments, and security advisors.
“There had been a preliminary agreement to play three games subject to a security review by credible experts, and agreement from the players and staff, which would have been the next stage of the process.
“With the recent tragic events at Karachi Airport, the series will now be deferred to a later date.
“Cricket Ireland are obviously very keen to secure as many fixtures as possible against Full Members, and these proposed games would have been very beneficial ahead of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.”
The PCB Chairman Najam Sethi recently invited Sri Lanka for a series after the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next Spring.
A visit by Ireland would have sent a message that Pakistan is safe enough to host international cricket.
“If Ireland had come and played in Pakistan, it would have subsequently helped to make the home tour of Sri Lanka happen in 2015, but all the plans have been derailed and the PCB’s top hierarchy is gutted over the outcome,” the Pakistani official added.