No home matches for Ireland as Pakistan and New Zealand postpone tours


“Pakistan came to Dublin for Ireland’s first ever Test but their visit this ear has been cancelled . ©AFP” />

London (AFP) – Ireland will have no home internationals this season after it was announced Thursday that tours by Pakistan and New Zealand had been postponed due to the coronavirus.

COVID-19 had already forced the postponement of Ireland’s early season games against Bangladesh and now a two-match Twenty20 international series against Pakistan has gone the same way.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s tour of Europe has been postponed as well.

The World Cup runners-up were due to arrive in June and play a eight limited-overs fixtures, with 20-over and 50-over matches against Scotland in Edinburgh, a T20 against the Netherlands in Rotterdam, as well as five games against Ireland in Bready and Belfast.

Cricket Ireland have forecast there will be a 30 percent drop in their year-on-year revenue, with the board’a annual income estimated at 9.5-10 million euros (£8.4-8.8 million, $10.2-10.8 million).

Although there will be some savings from not staging cricket, these will go to pay for as-yet-unknown additional fixtures in 2021.

Ireland do have three one-day internationals away to England scheduled for September, but the uncertainty over whether Pakistan’s tour of England can go ahead has led them to call off the Irish leg of their trip.

– ‘No choice’ –

“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,” said CI chief executive Warren Deutrom in a statement.

“Given the circumstances we entirely understand NZC (New Zealand Cricket) was left with no choice but to stay at home.”

As for the Pakistan fixtures, Deutrom added: “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.”

Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan said: “It is sad that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we have to postpone our tour to Ireland.

“We were looking forward to returning to the venue (Malahide) where we featured against Ireland in their inaugural Test in 2018 and a country where our players have always been supported and admired by the friendly and knowledgeable fans.”

Meanwhile New Zealand Cricket chief David White executive held out hope the matches could yet be played.

“These are extremely difficult times for international cricket and we feel deeply for our friends in the northern hemisphere, whose season has been so badly disrupted,” he said.

“Hopefully, in brighter and less dangerous times, we can return and play the games that have been postponed.”

There has been speculation the England-Ireland ODIS could be rescheduled for earlier in the season, although a cautious Deutrom said: “We will continue to work with the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) on trying to make these fixtures happen, but the issues involved will take a little while to work through.”

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has estimated a wiped out season could cost his board £380 million.

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