England are hoping to use Dubai as a training camp before their tour in Bangladesh next year so that what is expected to be an inexperienced side have as much time as possible together using the city's superior facilities. The captain, Andrew Strauss, is one of those who may be rested but said discussions with Sports City were ongoing and that everyone was hopeful of an agreement being reached.
"From what I have heard, the facilities at Sports City are outstanding and I wouldn't be surprised if we are there for a camp before the series," he said. "It is being discussed, but it might not be just us who do that. There is lots of potential in that area. It is not just an obvious solution for teams touring against Pakistan." Strauss was given a glimpse of what is on offer in the Emirates when England took up residence in Abu Dhabi after the Mumbai bombings disrupted their tour of India last year.
"Abu Dhabi and Dubai are going to be great places for us to play," he said. "From being there, there is huge interest in cricket in that part of the world and great infrastructure. They have developed so much and everyone was impressed when we went over last year after the bombings in Mumbai. "Can it be a cricketing hub? Probably, yes." Andrew Flintoff is now based in Dubai as he looks to return to the game after injury and retiring from Test cricket. His lofty ambition is to become the best limited overs player in the world for Lancashire, England and the Chennai Superkings in the Indian Premier League.
"The only way to satisfy people is to have a window for IPL so that international cricket is not competing," said Strauss. "If that's the case, everyone is happy. It works for everyone as long as you are not forcing people to choose one form over the other." firstname.lastname@example.org