England are ready to face ‘trial by spin’ against Pakistan in the UAE
After the frying pan of a home Ashes series, England’s cricketers jumped straight into the fire of an unseasonably hot autumn day at their first training session at Dubai on Friday morning, ahead of their series against Pakistan.
And acclimatisation is the easy bit. Yasir Shah is not even here yet.
“I started with a cold when I left England. I think that is pretty much gone already,” captain Alastair Cook said after their 40°C training session at the ICC Academy.
Those England players who have played Test cricket here before know the climate will be the least of the challenges facing them in their three-Test series in October and November.
When they toured in 2012, as the world’s top-ranked Test side, they were savaged by Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal-led spin battery, losing each of the three Test matches comprehensively.
Ajmal, who took 24 wickets in that series, is conspicuous by his absence this time around.
Still, Pakistan have been able to progress seamlessly despite the travails of their champion off-spinner, thanks to Yasir’s emergence. Details