Ben Stokes praises 'amazing' Abu Dhabi facilities in preparing England for Pakistan tour

England captain and rest of the squad have been using Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports Hub to fine-tune ahead of three-Test series in Pakistan

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Captain Ben Stokes is upbeat of England's chances of winning their upcoming Tests series in Pakistan starting next week.

Stokes and the rest of the England squad spent a week using the facilities at Abu Dhabi Cricket and Sports Hub, including a three-day game against the England Lions at the Tolerance Oval, to prepare for the three-match series in Pakistan.

England have won six out of seven Tests under Stokes but all of them on home soil. The 31-year-old says he is relishing the challenge of trying to lead his team to a maiden away series victory but is under no illusions of the challenge to come.

“I'm very excited," he said. “The summer went really well for us in conditions that I know, and we all know as a team, so it's exciting to come away somewhere completely different in sub-continent conditions where whatever team tours finds it very difficult. It's going to be completely different to the summer.”

England were able to prepare for Pakistan pitches by playing on wickets that replicate conditions in the country, and Stokes believes that kind of attention to detail will mean they hit the ground running this winter.

“We've got everything available to us,” he added. “The nets out back have got different types of surfaces because we're not quite sure what we're going to get in Pakistan in terms of wickets.

England captain Ben Stokes cools off after batting. Chris Whiteoak / The National

“We've been lucky to have some wickets that do a bit and some wickets that are a bit drier to help the lads prepare for the challenges that the spinners will present, so it's been really good.”

England used their warm-weather camp at Abu Dhabi's premier multisports venue as the pre-cursor to their historic return to Pakistan after a 17-year absence.

It gave Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum the chance to get their side up to speed for what lies ahead in Pakistan after a memorable few months for English cricket.

Appointed as captain and coach of the Test team last summer, Stokes and McCullum have led a red-ball revolution with wins against against New Zealand, India and South Africa.

England win T20 World Cup

Stokes then went on to be the hero as England lifted the T20 World Cup in Australia last month, where they beat Pakistan in the final.

The 31-year-old is grateful to now have the opportunity to switch back into Test cricket mode thanks to the red-ball camp in Abu Dhabi.

"We've been very lucky to be able to come out here to Abu Dhabi and use the facilities here before we head to Pakistan,” Stokes said after the warm-up match at the Tolerance Oval.

“We've been very spoilt. The facilities here are of one of the highest quality that I can remember since being out here.

“We've got the amazing net facilities out the back and then with all the squares, to be able to have a practice game between the Test team and the Lions has been really good so hopefully we can come back here in the future as well.”

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Updated: November 26, 2022, 7:58 AM