Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom has described news that Pakistan will host Zimbabwe in a series of international games in Lahore next month as encouraging with regards to a potential Ireland tour of the country.
Zimbabwe will be the first Test-playing nation to tour Pakistan since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore which left six policemen and two civilians dead, with several players injured.
Pakistan have played their home game in the United Arab Emirates since then, although neighbours Afghanistan and Kenya have toured the country in the last year.
Cricket Ireland have had ongoing discussions with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in relation to a tour of the country and both sides were close to arranging a three-match ODI series in September 2014. Those talks were put on hold after a Taliban attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi on June 8th 2014 in which 36 people were killed.
Deutrom confirmed to The Irish Times that he is waiting to hear back from the PCB after a recent meeting with their officials, one that mainly involved talks on fixtures here in Ireland, with Pakistan due to tour England in the summer of 2016.
“I saw the PCB leadership in Dubai a couple of weeks back when I was over for the ICC meeting,” said Deutrom.
“They’re obviously coming over to England next year and I said ‘look obviously we’d be delighted if you can come and for us to be able to host you again’. And I said of course I’m very happy for us to go into a degree of detail about looking into coming to Pakistan with all the necessary caveats and assuming the conditions are right to do so.”
Deutrom also confirmed that Cricket Ireland continue to monitor the situation in Pakistan.
“We have our own contact as well, who can provide us with some very, very helpful intelligence on the ground and we’re prepared to look into all of that. Our willingness and our intention is there to look at this from every single angle.”
Announcing the upcoming fixtures against Zimbabwe, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said in a statement on their website: "This would be an auspicious moment for Pakistan cricket and I am positive that it would open doors of international cricket in Pakistan.
“Kenya have already been here for five matches against Pakistan ‘A’ and I am indeed confident that Zimbabwe’s incident-free tour shall be the harbinger of more and more associate and full member nations visiting us in the months and years to come.”