'It's sad that due the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have to postpone our tour to Ireland,' says PCB Wasim Khan
A T20I series between Pakistan and Ireland scheduled for July has been suspended, according to a statement issued Thursday by the two countries' respective cricket bodies.
The decision by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket Ireland (CI) came after the Irish government announced that behind-closed-door matches could only be played after August 10.
The matches in Dublin were planned for July 12 and 14 — coinciding with Pakistan’s tour to England for three Tests and as many T20Is, for which the greens shirts were scheduled to depart late July.
Speaking about the development, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “It is sad that due the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have to postpone our tour to Ireland.
"We were looking forward to returning to the venue — where we featured against Ireland in their inaugural Test in 2018 — and country where our players have always been supported and admired by the friendly and knowledgeable fans," he added.
Khan noted that the PCB respected and endorsed the CI's decision amid these pressing times and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As we have all reiterated, the safety and security of players, officials, and fans comes first," he mentioned.
"It remains a challenging time for all nations that are due to be hosting home series in the coming months; we as a cricketing family will continue to rally and work closely together."
Meanwhile, CI Chief Executive Warren Deutrom said: "With the Irish Government's announcement on May 1 regarding the gradual process of lifting restrictions here in Ireland, it unfortunately became impossible to host the Pakistan T20Is in Dublin on the scheduled dates."
Delaying the fixtures or even playing them elsewhere were discussed, Deutrom underlined, but they encountered "numerous complications around government roadmap timelines, bio-security, quarantining, and scheduling harmony, it just hasn’t been possible to find a way to get the matches played".
"We deeply regret this, as the cricketing bonds between Ireland and Pakistan are strong, and we were very excited to host the world’s top T20 side.
"We look forward to a time when we can once again meet on the pitch and wish our Pakistan Cricket Board colleagues good health during these challenging times,” the CI CEO added.