Cricket Ireland remains ‘open’ to Pakistan tour

Cricket Ireland chief Warren Deutrom believes it is important that “the doors remain open” for countries to return to touring Pakistan.

Pakistan, who are in Ireland this week for two one-day internationals, have not hosted international cricket since a 2009 gun attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, which killed eight people and injured six players.

Deutrom this week revealed Ireland were willing to contemplate ending Pakistan’s four-year isolation, on the proviso security assurances were met. That has been the obvious stumbling block to any resumption of international cricket in the country but Deutrom believes it should not end the discussion.

“What we are saying at Cricket Ireland is that we are willing to contemplate any invitation,” said Deutrom.

“That is something the [Pakistan Cricket Board] PCB needs to hear. They need to know lines of communication are open and we want to play there provided safety assurances can be met.”

Deutrom has previously denied such words are “empty rhetoric” even though Ireland declined an invitation from the PCB to tour earlier this year. The PCB made the request after Bangladesh pulled out of a series in January, citing “inappropriate” security fears. Those fears prevented Ireland stepping in but Deutrom said it was not unrealistic that they may do so in the near future.

“The reason I describe talks as more than empty rhetoric is because we are probably the nation that has an instinctive sympathy for Pakistan’s position,” he said. “We spent so many decades trying to get other teams to play in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. We have an understanding of what they are going through.”

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