Melbourne: Heat could play spoilsport in the proposed Pakistan-Australia limited-overs series in the UAE as the cricketers from Down Under have "significant concerns" about playing there in searing temperatures of August.
Pakistan Cricket Board's director for international operations Intikhab Alam has said three ODIs and three Twenty20s are being planned in the UAE in August, one of the hottest months there.
Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) says it was fine with the Twenty20s as they will start in the evening but ODIs are a concern as daytime temperature is expected to be over 40 in the UAE in August.
"How wise is it to be going to a region that you know is going to get up to 45-plus at that time of year?" ACA chief executive Paul Marsh said. "That's extreme heat. It's also very humid. It's of significant concern for us at the moment. The health and safety of the players needs to be at the forefront of any decision that is made."
Marsh said a better idea would be to have six T20s. "The common-sense approach would be that six Twenty20s is going to be better than three of each because of the weather conditions," Marsh said. "We would rather see them play six Twenty20s if they have to play in the UAE because they could start later and it takes less time. But we have to wait and see what the ICC says."
"If the decision is they can't play six Twenty20s, then you're faced with the question of what do you do? I'm not an expert on heat but we'll look at it from an occupational health and safety perspective," Marsh added. "We have concerns about the health and safety of our players if they were to play 50-over games in those conditions."
Marsh said even a 5 p.m. start for ODIs would be tough on the players. "Five o'clock is still going to be pretty warm," he said. "At least with a T20, you could start it at eight or nine o'clock and finish at 11 or midnight and then you'd be getting out of the heat of the day. A three-hour game versus an eight-hour game is obviously the issue."
Cricket Australia has also expressed concerns about the heat in the UAE, with CEO James Sutherland saying the players have to be protected from extreme weather conditions. "It's a time of year when it is very hot and humid in the UAE," Sutherland said. "It will be hot for our players and it will be hot for their players. We would expect both countries would have concerns about that and would be doing everything they can to minimise that effect."