Sri Lanka v England 2011-12

Sri Lanka heat 'unbelievable' - Pietersen

Andrew McGlashan in Galle

March 23, 2012

Comments: 40 | Text size: A | A


Kevin Pietersen attempts to deal with the heat during a drinks break in England's second tour match © Getty Images
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Touring Sri Lanka no longer comes with the challenge of facing Muttiah Muralitharan, but while the opposition attack has changed the climate hasn't. Kevin Pietersen rarely deals in half measures so it wasn't surprising to hear him describe the heat England will face in the Test series as "unbelievable" and a bigger task than combating Sri Lanka's bowling attack.

England have sweated through two warm-up matches in Colombo and are now in Galle ahead of the first Test, which starts on Monday, but the change in location won't bring much relief. During England's second warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Development XI the mercury hit the mid-30s* in the middle and at drinks breaks batsmen, including Pietersen, used icepacks on their heads. Matt Prior even resorted to keeping without pads. On the whole, though, the England squad appear to be adjusting - another hallmark of their outstanding fitness levels - with most of the batsmen playing lengthy innings and the bowlers all getting overs in their legs.

However, performing in tour matches is one thing. England's batsmen need to make up for their woeful series against Pakistan in the UAE where Alastair Cook's 94 in Abu Dhabi was the highest score; where they failed to chase 145 and then couldn't build a match-winning lead after bowling out Pakistan for 99 in the final Test. Still, while respecting the opposition, it wasn't the Sri Lanka bowlers preoccupying Pietersen's mind.

"They've got a left-arm spinner, Rangana Herath, who bowls wicket to wicket and you saw against Pakistan what a guy like Abdur Rehman did to us," Pietersen said. "Left-arm spin is a huge part of the game now and it's not going to be easy at all. But it's not really the spinners out here, it's the heat. I think that will be the biggest threat to us."

Overcoming tough conditions is why touring is such a huge challenge. For all that England's players are finding it hard work now, Sri Lanka didn't have much fun rugged up against the cold at Cardiff or Lord's in May - although the demands of playing in higher temperatures are probably tougher, as there's only so much you can do to cool down.

"It's unbelievable, make no bones about that, but it's something we have to try and get over as quickly as possible," Pietersen said. "I'm trying to just not do too much and to conserve a lot of energy, not run around like a crazy fool like you do in England or Australia or South Africa, where you can afford to do that.

"It's something we have to try and control. On days off we need to get out, swim in the sea, spend some time in the sun and let your body get used to it. If you only spend time in the dressing room or in the ground and you try and take conditions in like that it's not going to work. You need to get out as much as you can."

Pietersen could find himself with more to keep him busy in the field than normal, if some overs of his under-used offspin are required. Ravi Bopara's side strain means he's unlikely to bowl during the series but remains the favourite to bat at No. 6 ahead of Samit Patel and Pietersen played down any problems in balancing the team.

"I'm not sure it's a big setback, because he's [Bopara] hardly going to take you seven wickets in a Test match," he said. "He might bowl you four overs. I can bowl those overs, Jonathan Trott can bowl those four overs."

England's frontline bowlers will hope Pietersen can supply a few more than four overs.

Edited by Alan Gardner

*21.30 GMT: The temperature was changed from mid-40s to mid-30s

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (March 26, 2012, 0:55 GMT)

Hey Theekshana Perera, I have been to Sri Lanka many times. Except for the hills in the centre of the Island. Sri Lanka is a really hot place. Espcecially Colombo, which has high humdity combine that with 30 degrees. Its not fun. Sri Lanka is great however if you are by a swimming pool or the beach close to the water. Because other than that Sri Lanka generally has glorious sun shining weather all year round intermingled with the inevitable monsoonal rains. Perfect place to enjoy and play cricket on the beach or the street. Not so much fun if your from England playing in a cricket stadium. With high heat and humidity, against a top side like Sri lanka. So it is not excuse. Petersen has a point. However if they do lose the test series I hope they don't bring up the heat as an issue and instead right congratulate Sri Lanka.In the past England's captain has been shown to be that kind of person.I've been to Sri Lanka Theekshana it is however a great place to get away from a British winter.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

The maximum temperature in Colombo in April rarely goes above 33 degrees Celsius, so it is not the heat that gets you but the humidity. It makes you sticky.Sweating ironically helps people to cool down! High humidity and sweating protects ones skin from sunburn and cracking. In Western Australia, in summer for example the temperature can go up to 38 or even 40 degrees in some days but the low humidity does not necessarily make you sticky, but your skin begins to crack and get sun burnt.Dry heat can get you unawares. So when you are in Colombo, be thankful for small mercies like high humidity!

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (March 25, 2012, 5:56 GMT)

Heat is going to test english players more than srilankan team here. It's very hard to save #1 position in test cricket. England needs to learn this lesson from Sri lanka. Get ready for cramps and dehydration.

Best of luck to england in Sri lanka i don't know how are they going to survive these two test matches. 10 days under sun. Wo ho.

Posted by   on (March 25, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

ha haaa kps making excuses even before the match.... the next excuse gonna be the pitches are too dry... common dude... man up have you ever heard Sri Lankan Cricketers complained about weather or your green carpets.. we only lost one session n that cost us the match unlike other countries we didn't loose 4-0 . So deal with it Mr. Everyone knows you r scared of left arm spinners no need to make it publish and dont forget we got left arm fast bowlers to rock ur captain too... Lol

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

@CricketPissek on (March 24 2012, 08:51 AM GMT) That's because there weren't freezing temperatures in England during April and May . KP is getting on with it , he's just saying how hot it is. I do find it funny that when one of our players mentions something about weather conditions or something in light conversation it means they are complaining. It also good to know that these fans know for a fact that none of the overseas players have ever commented on the English weather conditions. KP gets asked about the weather - what should he say? Also @randikaayya cricket being played in blizzards in England - really - when?

Posted by jackthelad on (March 24, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

Galle is 6 degrees north of the Equator, Colombo is seven , you'd think visiting teams would have clocked that ...

Posted by jackthelad on (March 24, 2012, 19:34 GMT)

The heat is not excessive for Sri, and it's what we all live with all year round. Those are the conditions - most national teams shiver and freeze in normal English 'summer' conditions. You take what you get and do the best you can.

Posted by randikaayya on (March 24, 2012, 18:05 GMT)

So KP is now totally English body and soul. So much so that he forgot the weather back in his native Durban :) BTW the Sri Lankans never complained having to play cricket in blizzards in England. There were days of 10C in teh tests in early May. Sri Lanka has two HOT months march and June as a consequence of being just north of the equator. and since we are an island nation the humidity reaches tipping point too. Just DEAL WITH IT, without giving excuses in advance

Posted by frozendilemma on (March 24, 2012, 18:04 GMT)

KP is going to destroy the Lankan attack...

Posted by stormy16 on (March 24, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

Excuses in advance I see! Ever heard the SL's complaining about the cold? Next will be the pitches. The fact is Eng should be able to beat SL without too much trouble - on paper anyway! Just like Pakistan.

Posted by AdrianVanDenStael on (March 24, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

"Left-arm spin is a huge part of the game now" ... really? Protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, I think comments like this suggest KP's much-vaunted weakness against left-arm spin is worrying him

Posted by   on (March 24, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

How is that it is fine for other teams to come over to UK and play early May in wet, damp, cold conditions. This KP is the other side of the coin. If the kitchen is getting too hot when you think of them spinners in SL get out !!!!!!!!

Posted by lankanlioncric on (March 24, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

welcome to the subcontinent boys

Posted by sharidas on (March 24, 2012, 9:26 GMT)

The usual really hot hours are between 1100 to 1400 hours.There are a few things one can do to make it better....Wear loose clothes - like loose cotton shirts which used to be the standard in the past. Drink plenty of cool water - NEVER COLD. Use ice water to wet all pulse points, whenever possible. Rub powdered camphor under the eyes....and above all try not to think too much about the heat and humidity.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

@Perera32 - re "It probably was because they could stay out in the sun and heat for 3-4 hours and compile a proper test innings." I think you meant "Could Not..." So if these inns were early declarations for this reason then it must mean that by the same token the SL 11 batsmen cou were ld not stand the heat either as they declared early? Maybe best to think that one through again - Please publish espn

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (March 24, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

@ RandyOz..KP is from Natal, not Transvaal, but you are right about the English weather softening him up, because Natal is notorious for it's humidity...

Posted by CricketPissek on (March 24, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

funny how Mahela, Sanga, Dilshan and co never complained about the freezing temperatures of touring England in April/May last year. It's ridiculously difficult to field the ball and hold on to your catches in the cold weather coming from a tropical country. They just got on with it. KP should stop being a big baby and get on with it :-D gonna be a cracking series!

Posted by Lakpj on (March 24, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

Seems that the Temp in Colombo had gone down from mid 40s to 30s ... i don't think KP will have any issues now. he was talking about mid 40s not mid 30s i guess .. lolzz

Posted by Balumekka on (March 24, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

This is absurd! Mid 40s? In Colombo, temperature never been above 36. Since the humidity is so high they must be feeling more heet.

Posted by HLANGL on (March 24, 2012, 7:54 GMT)

The temperature coupled with high humidity can give anyone staying outdoors a very harsh experience these days. You'll feel the heat even when staying indoors these days, let alone when playing the game outdoors. I'm a native, but still find it harsh more often than not. The temperature regularly hovers around 30-31 centigrades even indoors, oudoors it can well be mid 30s.

Posted by Clive_Dunn on (March 24, 2012, 7:39 GMT)

Hopefully the temperature will mean we'll see some batting in caps or floppy hats. For some reason I love watching that, its like a return to a long gone era.

Posted by landl47 on (March 24, 2012, 3:12 GMT)

So much for that- the article had the temperature wrong in the first place. It was mid-30s, not mid-40s. I don't believe it's a huge issue and England will not lose because of the heat. KP is a great guy for a quote, but you have to take his hyperbole with a grain of salt. Proper sunscreen and lots of fluids (and these guys seem to find a way to get a drink every 10 minutes, whether it's hot or not) and they'll be fine.

Posted by   on (March 24, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

players never complain about indian heat,becos IPL is palyed during peak summer...millions matter ....

Posted by subbass on (March 24, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

It's the humidity that is the main problem for our players, this makes the temps 'feel' higher. It is perfectly reasonable to say this is a big advantage to SL and more so than it is for Asian players coming to England on a cool summers day.

Not making excuses just telling it how it is, if we get beat here then it won't be because of the weather. But it does make it more difficult to put in your best performance. Still, this is the challenge of playing away from conditions you are used to, so yeah it's fair enough and all that.

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 24, 2012, 0:17 GMT)

The English weather must have softened him up. I am sure it gets quite hot down in the Transvaal.

Posted by cricinfan on (March 23, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

@optic and @jmcilhinney: look at the temperature in the article now. Looks like you need to wake up

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 23:47 GMT)

@ramesh Egotistic much? Ithought indians had that kind of mentality, then i find you....... I am a sri lankan myself and i know what pieterson feels. and for all those sri lankans that keep lamenting that temp is around 30 degrees, yes it's true, but what you need to know is that humid makes it look like it in mid forties. Even in middle east you get "dry heat" which is more comfortable, but in sri lanka it's not the temperature that gets you, It's the humidity. and I empathize with the english cricketers :P

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (March 23, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

Not everyone complains about Indian temperature. Chennai can roast you. Compared to India Sri Lanka is cool. Pietersen surprises.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 22:29 GMT)

Having spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka during May I can confirm KP's fears and it's humid as well! The Sri Lankan weather is almost as warm as the wonderful Singalese people! I loved the country and the people too! COME ON ENGLAND!!!

Posted by mrwaka on (March 23, 2012, 22:28 GMT)

@sinhay @Ayesh ice: just to clarify, Pietersen didn't say that it was mid 40s - the article did.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 23, 2012, 22:22 GMT)

The first five people to comment here, and anyone else who posts similar comments, need to wake up. First up, it's not Pietersen who said that the temperature hit the mid 40's. It was the author, Andrew McGlashan. Secondly, if you don't know that temperature inside a cricket ground can be significantly higher than the ambient temperature then you can't have watched much cricket. Such sporting grounds are like big satellite dishes, catching heat and concentrating it into the centre of the bowl. If the ambient temperature in an area is 35 then it's pretty much guaranteed to be over 40 in the middle of a sports ground with large stands around it.

Posted by Stark62 on (March 23, 2012, 22:08 GMT)

Not true about the mid 40 degrees thing because I went Dubai in August and the temps were touching around 55C but we all know that SL isn't as bad as the middle east and especially not during spring.

Posted by Optic on (March 23, 2012, 22:07 GMT)

@Sinhaya You may want to go read up on how they measure the temperature fr the weather forecast, it's taken in the shade,out of sunlight, always has, that's why the actual out in the middle temp is always a lot higher. The news reports about the game, the temperature was mentioned several time by different guys, there was a gunge in the stadium saying what it was. I also think I'd take the words of the people there, not people at the other side of the world, who don't even know how they measure the temp in the first place.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 21:25 GMT)

This a huge lie..The maximum tempreture you get in Colombo is low 30s..Maximum in Sri Lanka is around 34 C..that`s in Mannar.Colombo is 32 C and Galle is around 30 C.Kandy is 20-25 C.Most English players and their journalists lie about Sri Lankan tempreture to hide their inabilty to play in Sri Lankan conditions !

Posted by PureTom on (March 23, 2012, 19:51 GMT)

@Sinhaya Official temperatures are always taken in windless areas outside of direct sunlight. While I'm sure the official temperatures were mid to low 30's, it's quite possible that in the middle of a sun-baked field the temperature was a lot higher. You are probably right about the exaggeration, it's the humidity, not the temperature, that's taking its toll.

Posted by Kays789 on (March 23, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

@ sinhaya! wow mate you just took the words right out of my mouth! i just read the article and was about to say the EXACT same thing! mid 40s?? thats ridiculous! the temp hardly ever goes above 35 in colombo, let alone reach 40! not sure who came up with that number, McGlashan or Pieterson, but whoever did was exaggerating their head off!

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 19:38 GMT)

KP, you grew up in Durban, not London, you should be used to that type of weather.

Posted by Perera32 on (March 23, 2012, 18:38 GMT)

I dont think it has ever reached 45 degrees celsius in Colombo. If you look at all the innings England batsmen have played in the warm up matches, they all have a high strike rate. Im not sure if that was because they wanted a result out of the match, but It probably was because they could stay out in the sun and heat for 3-4 hours and compile a proper test innings.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

KP dont lie . Its is always below 35c!. You see

Posted by Sinhaya on (March 23, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

It is totally wrong to say that the mercury reached the mid 40s in Colombo! Just go to google and type Colombo weather and see what wunderground, weather channel, accu weather, time and date, bbc world weather says! it is always below 35c! Please stop exaggerating KP!!!

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Andrew McGlashanClose
Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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