Ireland desperate for meaningful World Cup preparation
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
CRICKET Ireland were prepared to send their squad to Pakistan this year to give them meaningful preparation ahead of the World Cup finals next February and March.
Following the killings at Karachi airport at the weekend, however, plans, which were at an advanced stage, to play three one-day internationals in Lahore have been shelved, but CI are not ruling out a future visit, though almost certainly not before the finals.
The fact they were even considering a visit to the country, where no international cricket has been played since 2009, when the Sri Lanka team were victims of an armed attack, underlines their keenness (some would say desperation) to play Full Member opposition.
No official statement has been released by Cricket Ireland – the story originated out of Pakistan yesterday – but it seems to be a case of if teams won’t come to Ireland, they are prepared to go to any lengths to play away.
The ODI series was set to be signed off, subject to final security clearance, at the ICC annual meeting in Melbourne this month, when officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket Ireland will be present, but any such visit has now been deferred following the airport attacks.
I understand the players had not been aware of any such trip until its ‘cancellation’ became public yesterday morning but they would have been consulted before the series was confirmed. It would have taken place in September en route to Australia and New Zealand where the squad will play eight games in three of the venues where they will play their World cup fixtures.
That four-week trip is due to be confirmed shortly.