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Ireland talks over Pakistan tour on hold

Umar Farooq

June 11, 2014

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Pakistan's hopes of reviving international cricket at home were dealt a big blow after Ireland decided to hold back on its ongoing discussion with the PCB regarding a proposed tour to Pakistan later this year, following the terrorist attacks on Karachi airport this week.

Ireland had been willing to tour Pakistan as early as September on the condition of security assurances, but the terrorist attacks in and around Karachi airport which has killed more than 30 people, have now ruled out the proposition. "Cricket Ireland and the PCB were in advanced discussions to play three ODIs in Pakistan in September," Barry Chambers, Cricket Ireland's spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo.

"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."

Pakistan has not hosted an international match since the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009. However, ESPNcricinfo understands that upon the persuasion of ECB chairman Giles Clarke, Ireland became the first major cricket-playing nation to show their support to Pakistan, and were even willing to play in the country.

"Cricket Ireland is 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," Chambers said.

Ireland had initially been invited to tour Pakistan early last year following Bangladesh's withdrawal from a scheduled series in January. The PCB tried hard to negotiate a home series with the BCB, but Bangladesh withdrew twice after seemingly having committed to the tour.

For the last three months, the PCB has been using diplomatic channels in a bid to win back lost confidence. There had been frequent visits by the European Union delegation at the PCB headquarters. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the head of the European Union delegation to Pakistan, had called on the PCB Chairman Najam Sethi in March, and this was followed by another delegation visit last month.

"The PCB is trying to bring back international cricket to Pakistan," Sethi had said. "Every diplomatic effort is being made for the revival of bilateral and other international cricket in this country."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

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Posted by   on (June 14, 2014, 7:27 GMT)

Ireland should play in pak and break the ice!

Posted by Cricket_Man on (June 14, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

Thanks Ireland for the support. But as a Pakistani and as a true friend I would not advocate the Irish team to tour Pakistan right now. It is sad to see the country in turmoil.

Posted by   on (June 14, 2014, 0:56 GMT)

Ireland HAVE to tour Pakistan other wise the situation will NEVER change in Pakistan. Pakistani players have played in Ireland for years without any problems in the areas known to have "troubles".

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (June 13, 2014, 7:12 GMT)

PCB should just "home" tests in middle east. That way Pakistan's talent can be showcased globally. Pakistani soil has so many weeds, it should not be the unitary definition of "home".

Posted by   on (June 13, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

Only Afghanistan can tour Pakistan . Better arrange 2 ODIs Series with Afghanistan .

Posted by   on (June 13, 2014, 6:39 GMT)

Here's hoping this gets sorted out. Ireland need the games and it is such a shame that Pakistan are unable to hold matches. It will be massively beneficial for both sides for this to go ahead.

Posted by anver777 on (June 13, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

With all these unwanted issues, cricket in Pak is stand stilled & ultimately poor Pak cricket lovers who suffers....

Posted by   on (June 12, 2014, 17:25 GMT)

@Medha Rahman

Because Bangladesh confirmed it, but cancelled at the last minute. Ireland was just merely in the talks.

Posted by android_user on (June 12, 2014, 11:24 GMT)

wish, things get better for pakiatan..... so keen to see once again cricket comes back in pakistan... all the very best.. indian supporter...

Posted by   on (June 12, 2014, 8:38 GMT)

So it's ok if Ireland doesn't tour but every Pakistani cricket fan kicked up a fuss when Bangladesh cited security concerns as a reason not to visit. Double standards.

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