Cricket during summer months in the subcontinent is almost unthinkable, with temperatures in the northern parts regularly breaching the 45ºC mark and heatwaves a common occurrence.
But this is exactly when Pakistan are set to host the West Indies for a three-match ODI series, starting on Wednesday. The ODIs were initially slated as part of the Caribbean team's 2021 tour of Pakistan in December but had to be postponed after a Covid outbreak in the visitors' camp. Pakistan clinched the preceding T20 series 3-0.
Beginning of June seemed to be the only viable window to complete the limited overs series and that has posed a serious challenge as the matches will be held in Multan, southern Punjab, where temperatures are set to hit 46ºC over the next few days.
Given the oppressive conditions, the three-match series will begin at 4pm local time, and finish closer to midnight to avoid the worst parts of the day. But that is likely to be of little help with minimum temperatures expected to be around 31ºC.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam admitted there is little that could be done and that players simply need to acclimatise to the conditions.
"Definitely it is hot, but we are having a conditioning camp and acclimatising to the weather. We started our training camp earlier in the day from 2.30pm so that we could feel the heat and get ourselves ready for the matches," the star batsman was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
"As a professional, you have to handle these situations. We do go out to other countries to play, and even during our time in the UAE, we used to face similar temperatures. I think it won't be a problem."
The visitors are likely to face a bigger hurdle. The West Indies just completed a three-match ODI series in Amstelveen in the Netherlands where the mercury hovered around the 17ºC mark.
The remaining matches of the series will be played on June 10 and 12.
Pakistan and West Indies will not be the only team playing in the heat. India are also set to host South Africa for a five-match T20 series, beginning on Thursday. However, the matches are spread across the country and will start at 7pm local time, which should make it easier for the players.