THREE weeks before the Ireland squad are due to leave for the UAE, their series with Scotland and the hosts remains unconfirmed.
The Emirates Cricket Board have drawn up a schedule where the teams would play each other three times, followed by a final, but that, added to the quarantine period before the visiting squads can leave their hotel, would extend the trip to 21 days which is too costly for Cricket Ireland.
If the UAE does not agree to a shorter itinerary, there is the possibility of a short tour to another Full Member, but if both fall through Ireland will make do with a few extra days, ironically back in UAE, at the start of January ahead of the three-match Super Series against Afghanistan which has been locked in for 50-over games on January 19, 22 and 24 in Abu Dhabi.
The uncertainty over the December trip is also affecting Paul Stirling’s hopes of playing in the inaugural Sri Lanka (T20) Premier League which was due on November 21.
However, that tournament has also run into financial and health difficulties and the latest, confirmed yesterday, is that there will be a six-day delay which would end Stirling’s hopes of taking part, if Ireland go to the UAE in December.
The one immediate trip which still has the green light is Ireland Women’s five-match white ball series against Scotland in La Manga.
The two squads are due to fly out on November 20 and they will remain together in their Spanish bubble in a hotel, currently closed, but which will be opened only for the players and match officials.