Why have the England players gone to Dubai?

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Dubai by night (CC licensed by Crazy Diamond via Flickr)
Dubai by night (CC licensed by Crazy Diamond via Flickr)

England are taking a break. A mid-tour holiday. There’s been a bit of discussion about the fact that they feel they need one and what that might say about international schedules, but there’s been precious little comment about why the holy hell they saw fit to go to Dubai.

We’d be interested to know how our Indian readers take this decision. To us, it sort of gives the impression that England see India as a place to be escaped. Couple of days off? Travel 2,000km to relax because relaxation would be impossible anywhere closer. Maybe they don’t feel that they get enough opportunities for air travel.

And honestly – Dubai? A friend who lives there assures us that there’s plenty to do, yet it’s hard to find a list of attractions which doesn’t list ‘shopping’ fairly high up. Why such a short hop and a skip from Chandigarh if that’s what you’re after? Why not plough on to Manchester for a full weekend at The Traff. Or, you know, India has shops too.

Perhaps this is hypocritical. In our youth we spent 10 days in Sri Lanka midway through a trip to India and it did sort of feel like a holiday. But then we also felt pretty relaxed in any number of Indian coastal towns or up in the mountains or out in the desert.

Someone should tell the England players that the major industrial cities in which they generally find themselves playing cricket aren’t necessarily representative of one of the world’s largest and most culturally varied nations.

For the record, Haseeb Hameed – who went home for surgery, not a holiday, lest we forget – will fly back to India next week to watch the remaining Tests with his family. We’re not sure precisely how many Hero Points he gets for that, but we’re prepared to allocate him plenty.


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  1. They probably want to be somewhere they will be less recognised? At this point anywhere in India is unlikely to feel like a holiday. Also I’m sure security concerns would mean most of the places outside th urban centres are off limits even if the team was willing to go. Maybe they could have gone to Goa?

    1. The security point was made to us on Twitter but we ignored it so that we could publish our moan.

      Still don’t think it looks good.

  2. I certainly wouldn’t recommend Manchester as a destination for ‘relaxation’ at the moment – the Christmas Markets are colonising the whole city centre, and there are people everywhere. EVEEEEEEEEEEEERYWHEEEEEEEEERE (to be screamed a la Gary Oldman screaming ‘EVERYONE’ in Leon).

    Also, the Trafford Centre isn’t really ‘in’ Manchester, is it?

    1. Depends whether your lifestyle means you consider Town the city’s absolute northernmost point.

      1. I have sought views on this, and the Trafford Centre is either in Manchester, Salford, Stretford, Trafford, or ‘Motorwayland’.

        I hope this clears things up.

    2. Thanks for the tip. I wanted to go to the Anthony Burgess Foundation this month but will save that to January when Manchester will be more depressing. Don’t think Burgess had much time for cricket but he must have had the liver the size of a rugby ball.

      1. The Anthony Burgess Foundation place is reasonably tucked away, and you could get there from (say) Oxford Road Station without really going into any of the busiest bits of the City Centre.

        Nonetheless, January will be quieter, undoubtedly.

      2. All this Greater Manchester chat is so Greater Manchester-centric. I don’t come here for this; I have no idea where any of these places are. It’s appalling.

  3. It definitely doesn’t look good and yet the hassling you get from onlookers in India can’t be replicated anywhere else. Indians lack the concept of private space ..

    I would bet that even in Dubai , they would be bothered by people who recognise them and 95% of them would be indian expats.

      1. No, it’s the players’ prerogative, no? If they feel this is the way forward for a better performance, then so be it. And as others have pointed out, India can be pretty bad for privacy purposes for international cricketers. Unless you are Bret Lee, of course.

      2. We just can’t get away from the fact that for all that there are regular flights, Dubai is a bloody long away. We suppose if you’re a cricketer, you’ve long since ceased worrying about the environmental impact of air travel.

  4. Did it have anything to do with ICC moving it’s HQ to Dubai a couple of days ago? All right, not a “couple of days” maybe a bit more. The answer may be interesting. Or maybe not.

  5. They could have gone to Ooty. There’s a little train that takes about six hours to get you there. Ooty is ace. I wish I came from Ooty.

  6. I never understood the fascination people seem to have for Dubai. There’s that nice skyscraper and a decent beach, but apart from that it’s various malls competing with each other. The old city is quite nice though.

    How you could pick it over the various offerings in the subcontinent, I’ll never know. Personally, I’d pick a nice tiger safari or, if I wanted to get out of the country, a trip to Sri Lanka (or Bhutan in the summer).

    That said, I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to escape the Indian media or the growing number of nationalist chest thumpers we seem to be sprouting these days.

    1. I’ve been to dubai. It’s shit. Skyscrapers and sand and absolutely fuck all to do unless you a) like shopping, and b) think the more you pay for an item the better, even if you can get the same item elsewhere for less.

      I liked India though. Maybe this i why i wasn’t picked as reserve spinner.

  7. No big deal really.
    Most foreign teams are under siege when touring India in more ways than one. Can’t be easy to stay cooped up in the hotels and coaches and grounds the entire time.

  8. Root says England will be “hungry” after their break, which makes you whether they do not expect to eat much in Dubai.

    It’s just possible he’s using the word as a metaphor, and what he actually means is they will be determined to win the fourth Test.

    1. Makes sense. If they’d stayed in India you’d have expected them to feel a bit “could take it or leave it” about the fourth Test.

    2. Our food in India is very greasy/oily full of ghee and I can understand if a full meal acts as a dampener for any further physical activities.

      Maybe what the england team need right now is starving by the pools in their dubai hotels.

      Or maybe it is all due to currency restrictions in India right now?

    1. Yup. Although not quite as many because going to watch Test matches as a fan is an equally important aspect of Hameed’s heroism.

  9. It’s because they haven’t been paid for the tour. India is a mini-economic crisis right now.

    1. I’m not sure I see the issue. It’s a short flight by modern standards and if it allows them to get away from a bit of pressure, relax and regroup what’s the issue.

      And if that’s what they want then there are few better places to do that than dubai.

      Suspect it won’t change the result of the next two tests but I don’t think it’s an enormous issue.

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