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Neil Fairbrother: A Touch Challenge Ahead
Article posted: 13 October 2015

The squad have not seen a cloud since they have been there and, with that trend set to continue, the sessions have been hard toil.

- Neil Fairbrother

As we approach the first Test match out in Abu Dhabi, there are two or three things that immediately spring to mind, none of which is overly positive towards England’s chances in the Test series.

Number one is the heat. It is around 40c at the moment which, in most people’s minds is pretty warm. For a fast bowler it is ridiculously roasting.

Two is the wickets. We have just come off the back of an exhilarating summer of cricket in England on wickets that bounce and often have some lateral movement and, of course, we played with Dukes balls all summer that tended to swing a little.

We are about to play three Test matches on wickets that will bounce probably just above shin height and be very slow and therefore the pace of the game will probably be totally different.

Three, England have only had four days actual cricket in which to acclimatise to all of the above so the bowlers will get two bowls and the batsmen will hopefully have two knocks which is not ideal.

Moeen Ali getting the nod at opening the batting with captain Cook is pretty sensible in the conditions in the UAE as it will certainly enable the balance of the team to have another spinner in it.

I like the look of a bowling attack of Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson, Ben Stokes, Ali and Adil Rashid which means the team is also going to be pretty well packed with batsmen. The squad have not seen a cloud since they have been there and, with that trend set to continue, the sessions have been hard toil, whether batting or bowling.

We have become used to three-day Test Matches and fast cricket over here this summer.

It might well be time to prepare yourselves for some Test-match batting in the mould of Messrs Boycott and Atherton. 

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