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May 24, 2013
Ireland would be willing to tour Pakistan if security assurances were met, Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom has said.
Pakistan has not hosted international cricket since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009 and Deutrom believes it is important that "the door remains open" for countries to tour Pakistan.
He said Ireland would consider an invitation and has talked to their players about the possibility.
"The PCB needs to hear that the lines of communication are open and that we want to play cricket in their country," Deutrom told the Press Association. "What we are saying is that we are willing to contemplate any invitation."
Ireland were invited to tour Pakistan earlier this year after Bangladesh withdrew from a scheduled series in January. Concerns over security led them to decline the invitation but Deutrom has denied his comments are merely empty rhetoric.
"The reason I say that is because we are probably the nation that has an instinctive sympathy for Pakistan's position. We spent the 1970s, 80s and 90s trying to get other teams to play in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
"We have an understanding of what they are going through and we feel we are in a position where we could possibly help. We know the damage that this has to the profile of the sport in the country. Pakistan is obviously a cricket-mad country and not having tours affects the fans and revenues."
Ireland are currently hosting Pakistan in a two-match ODI series and they are keen to build their fixture list and are hopeful of securing future matches against Pakistan, if only in the UAE.
"We are aware that Pakistan are playing in the UAE in January of next year," Deutrom said. "If nothing else there may be an opportunity for Ireland to play some matches there and that could in turn open the doors for further discussions on touring Pakistan.
"But looking further afield we have a number of irons in the fire. The problem is working into the Future Tours Programme, which is a hectic schedule. We haven't yet toured places like England or Australia but I don't doubt that will be possible in the future."
Ireland's last bi-lateral tour was to Zimbabwe in 2010, when government assurances were required - the same would be needed for a tour of Pakistan.
"If Pakistan do invite us, and we welcome that, we would go through a three-step process. One would be to get the views of the Governments both north and south of the border regarding safety. Secondly we would need an independent risk assessment of the dangers and then finally we would need to speak to the players."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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