‘Difficult but not impossible to play in UAE heat’


While the Australian Cricketers’ Association has been expressing concern over playing ODIs’ against Pakistan in the heat of UAE and that too at odd hours, the former team manager, Steve Bernard says it is difficult but not impossible.
In an exclusively talk from Sydney, he said: “I was the Team Manager in 2002 when Australia played Pakistan in the UAE. During the 1st Test in Sharjah, (which was the 2nd Test of the series, with the 1st Test being played in Colombo), the temperature reached levels of over 50 degrees, which made it very difficult for players from both teams to play at their best because of these very testing conditions.” “I recall that most bowlers from both teams were limited to bowling two over spells for most of the match, which only lasted two days. A couple of bowlers from both teams collapsed and had to leave the field for treatment as a result. The view of the Australian players was that conditions like these ones made it hard for players to play at their best and be able display their skills in their best light. The players were incredibly tired when they came from the field at lunch, tea and end of play breaks.”
“However, players from both teams accepted that they were involved in an important Test match, and just got on with the match to the best of their ability. One of my clearest recollections of this particular match was that Matthew Hayden was on the field for every ball of the Test bar one, as he basically batted through the Australian innings, and fielded for all of Pakistan’s two innings. This was a fantastic display of endurance and fitness, and to be truthful, he still looked fit and relatively fresh at the end of the match”, he added.
“Obviously, there are misgivings from many people about whether to play in the UAE at this time of year. But with the tight international schedule, it appears that there is little choice as to when this series can be played”.
“My personal belief is that it is a matter of common sense for the matches to be played in the evening and at night to overcome the potentially debilitating effects of having to play in the middle of the day. I am unsure if this innovation has been confirmed as yet, but I hope it does happen that way if it means that the teams are able to play in conditions that are relatively comfortable, and where there is less likelihood of health concerns that may be caused by excessive temperatures”.
“While many may question whether this is a positive move for cricket given that it has not happened before, I believe cricket has shown itself to be a dynamic and constantly changing sport. It wasn’t that long ago when international ODI cricket was first played under lights and with a white ball. That was revolutionary at the time of its introduction, but does not raise an eyebrow nowadays. I see playing late at night in the same light, and I have no doubt the players, with the help of their medical staff, will be able to adjust to the change in starting and finishing times”, he signed off.