x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Australian officials to check out UAE summer conditions first hand

Members of the ACA will be making a tour of the UAE to investigate the conditions cricketers will be playing in when they take on Pakistan in late August.

Before Asad Shafiq and the Pakistan team can play Australia in the UAE, the ACA want to examine the summer conditions.
Before Asad Shafiq and the Pakistan team can play Australia in the UAE, the ACA want to examine the summer conditions.

 

ABU DHABI // Officials from Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) will travel to the UAE ahead of Australia's limited-overs series with Pakistan to further assess the conditions their cricketers are likely to be playing in when they take on Pakistan in late August.

A group of four officials from both bodies will likely arrive sometime in the next couple of weeks for the assessment.

The series, after much negotiation and discussion, will consist of three 50-over matches and three Twenty20 internationals between August 28 and September 10.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) finally made public the itinerary last week; the three ODIs will begin at 6pm local time to avoid the extreme daytime heat during that time of the year.

The ACA have expressed concern throughout the discussions of the itinerary specifically over the ramifications of playing 50-over games in such heat.

At one stage it seemed likely that the series would consist of only T20 matches; the PCB had asked for and been granted special permission by the ICC to do so and the ACA had said they would be fine with that schedule (as the games would start in the evening).

The implications for the broadcasters - broadly speaking T20s will bring in less revenue because they are shorter - have meant, however, that ODIs are part of the tour.

And the ACA remains concerned at the prospect of the UAE hosting international matches at a time of the year when they have never done so.

"At this stage the tour is scheduled to proceed," Paul Marsh, the ACA chief, told The National.

"CA and the ACA will be conducting a pre-tour visit to the UAE shortly to experience and assess the conditions first hand. Once this is complete we will be in a better position to assess the risks associated with playing cricket in these conditions."

The late start has also raised concern that players will be ending games near 2am local time.

Australian players have been asking CA and ACA for advice.

"There are definitely some concerns about playing cricket in the expected extreme heat in the UAE at the time this series is scheduled," Marsh said.

"I think these concerns are natural, however, the players are seeking guidance as to whether or not we believe it is safe to play in such conditions.

"We are going through a process of assessing the safety of playing in these conditions and discussing possible measures to mitigate any risks that exist.

"Once we've done this we'll be in a position to have an informed discussion with the players." Though not finalised, Marsh said a number of measures had been discussed already with the board to ensure any risks to players are as reduced as possible.

"At this stage we haven't finalised what these measures will be but the types of things we have talked about are additional drinks breaks, greater ability for players to spend time off the field, the use of ice vests," Marsh said.

"We'll confirm these details closer to the start of the series."

However, he accepted that there was little choice for the series but to go ahead, given tight international schedules and Pakistan's inability to find an alternate venue.

osamiuddin@thenational.ae

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