Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom has provided encouraging news to fans in Pakistan, saying the national team is interested in touring the country within the next 12 months.
Deutrom’s comments come after he was in Pakistan with England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison for the recently concluded Twenty20 series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Lahore.
While there, Deutrom and Harrison were given a rundown on the security arrangements put in place.
During Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan, which consisted of three ODIs in Karachi and the Twenty20 Internationals in Lahore, the tourists were given presidential level security.
“First of all, we have been treated fabulously well,” Deutrom said in the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) podcast as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “The courtesy, the generosity, the hospitality, the warmth, the love of cricket is plainly obvious for anyone to see. Cricket Ireland is now a Test nation and we certainly feel it is important that we play our part in being a mature and grown-up member of the cricket family.
“We want to play our part in assisting getting international cricket back in Pakistan.
“To be honest, and just at a very human level, until you see it yourself, you come with a set of conceptions or preconceptions,” Deutrom said, “And I think this visit, which was generously made at the invitation of the Pakistan Cricket Board, would begin to change those perceptions.
“What we saw in Islamabad and Lahore is the extraordinary lengths to which the cricket authorities, the security authorities, the government and police, everyone has been working incredibly closely together to building that confidence. It begins to build a sense of ‘okay, well, what are the reasons now to say why wouldn’t we come if we have all these sensitive comforts provided to us’? So, it is the beginning, I believe, of a conversation.
“We have a board meeting at the end of this month and would like to convey to the board what we have seen and the remarkable steps that have been taken to instil that level of confidence in other cricket boards around the world. We will do what we have always done, engage with our governments and insurers, and talk to our players. We will speak with the other boards that have been here in the past, obviously Sri Lanka Cricket, and then, we need to wait for an invitation.
“When we receive an invitation, we will go through the motions and will take it extremely seriously. There is no date set. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if that date or if that invitation was received by the end of the year for a tour taking place, perhaps next year, maybe the year after, I don’t know. I think that’s something we should take extremely seriously.”
Ireland had previously expressed interest in touring Pakistan for a three-match ODI series in 2014, but shelved the idea following a terrorist attack at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.