England will have a two-week build-up in the Middle East ahead of their Test series against Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi after the dates for the two-month tour, which also includes four one-day internationals and three Twenty20s, were confirmed.
The opposition for England’s two warm-up matches have yet to be finalised but with the team coming off a rare period of downtime before Christmas they will be vital preparation ahead of the Test matches which begin in Dubai on January 17. England showed the importance of a proper lead in to a Test series during the Ashes when they had three first-class matches.
England will hope they can find decent quality opposition for the two warm up games as there is no first-class structure in UAE. With the series being a ‘home’ contest for Pakistan it is the PCB’s responsibility to provide opposition, but an ECB spokesmen confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the unusual factors involved in using a neutral venue are being taken into account and a range of options will be considered.
The second Test then takes place in Abu Dhabi from January 25 before the teams return to Dubai for the final Test on February 3. The one-day series is again shared between the two cities while Dubai will host the first two Twenty20 international before the tour finishes with the final T20 back in Abu Dhabi.
Jan 3 – England depart for UAE
Jan 7-9 – Three-day warm-up match
Jan 11-13 – Three-day warm-up match
Jan 17-21 – 1st Test, Dubai
Jan 25-29 – 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi
Feb 3-7 – 3rd Test, Dubai
Feb 10 – One-day warm-up match, Abu Dhabi
Feb 13 – 1st ODI, Abu Dhabi
Feb 15 – 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi
Feb 18 – 3rd ODI, Dubai
Feb 21 – 4th ODI, Dubai
Feb 23 – 1st T20, Dubai
Feb 25 – 2nd T20, Dubai
Feb 27 – 3rd T20, Dubai