Ireland’s home series against Pakistan and New Zealand’s European tour have joined cricket’s long list of coronavirus postponements.
The Black Caps were due to arrive in June and play a total of eight limited-overs fixtures, with 20-over and 50-over matches against Scotland in Edinburgh, a T20 against Holland in Rotterdam, as well as five games against Ireland in Bready and Belfast along the way. The World Cup runners-up will not be now travelling due to Covid-19.
Ireland had already postponed early-season games against Bangladesh and have been forced to add a two-match T20 series against Pakistan, guaranteeing no international cricket on the island this summer.
Pakistan’s tour of England is still under active discussion but the logistics of fitting the Irish trip in have proven insurmountable given the current levels of uncertainty.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said: “It had become fairly obvious following the recent series of Government announcements in the Republic and UK that the New Zealand series was not feasible.
“While of course it’s disappointing for the fans in Northern Ireland who I know were looking forward to the visit of the World Cup runners-up, given the circumstances we entirely understand NZC was left with no choice but to stay at home.”
Turning his attention to Pakistan, Deutrom explained the lack of clarity on the England trip had left no option.
“Unfortunately, with numerous complications around Government roadmap timelines, biosecurity, quarantining, and scheduling harmony, it just hasn’t been possible to find a way to get the matches played.
“We deeply regret that we can’t provide any international cricket at home to our fans this year, but we were always up against it with our entire home international programme coming in the first half of the season.”
As for the three ODIs between England and Ireland, which are currently slated for September, Deutrom suggested there was plenty of talking still to do.
“Discussions with the ECB are ongoing. We will try to be as flexible as possible around these – as they are currently set to be our first fixtures as part of the new World Cup Super League, however, numerous challenges have to be resolved – notably around timing, biosecure venues and quarantine requirements for players who travel. We will continue to work with the ECB on trying to make these fixtures happen, but the issues involved will take a little while to work through.”