A trip to the UAE to play cricket may be a first for England, but unknown conditions should not put punters off a victory over Pakistan in their three-Test series which begins later in January.
England head into the series on the crest of a wave, with 2011 seeing them move top of the Test rankings following an Ashes victory in Australia and a 4-0 home success over the previous number-one side India.
In total, England have won their last six series’ and have the array of bowlers to force wickets that on the most part will be especially flat.
They even have the luxury of two warm-up matches ahead of the first Test on January 17th to decide which bowlers will best suit the conditions.
Monty Panesar may be given a rare opportunity if spin is the way forward, while Chris Tremlett would offer some additional bounce if that is the best option for taking wickets.
Meanwhile, it may take some of the patience that saw England achieve so much in Australia with the bat that could be needed to get the better of an improving Pakistan.
Jonathan Trott will need to be at his watchful best in conditions that are likely to be hot, humid and draining and Eoin Morgan must stay reserved and not get overly aggressive when facing the crafty spin of Saeed Ajmal.
Furthermore, England will come into the series feeling untypically fresh given they have enjoyed six weeks off after defeat in the one-day arena in India.
Pakistan will bring some confidence of their own into the series after enjoying a victory over Sri Lanka last year and stringing together a sequence of six Tests unbeaten.
There is a case that Pakistan could match England for runs and Ajmal could be a threat with the ball, but their pace attack looks far inferior and may struggle to help in the quest for 20 wickets for a victory.