We're all off the booze… It can help beat Sri Lanka heat, insists Anderson
21:57 GMT, 24 March 2012
James Anderson and his Test teammates
are ready to make what previous generations of England tourists would
have considered the ultimate sacrifice in their attempt to retain the
world No 1 spot in sweltering Sri Lanka – a fortnight on the wagon.
The forecast for the first Test
starting tomorrow in Galle and the second of the two-match series
commencing in Colombo four days after the first finishes is the seasonal
norm for this part of the world – 'Scorchio!' and getting scorchier, a
combination of brain-frying temperatures of 40 degrees-plus and
lung-bursting humidity that makes every waking moment a sweating one.
Icemen cometh: Anderson and his
England colleagues need to keep cool
Mindful of the debilitating and potentially dangerous effects of dehydration, leader of the bowling attack Anderson has decided to stay clear of alcohol until the end of the Test action, on April 7 if the contest goes the distance, and he expects most, if not all, of his colleagues to follow suit.
ENGLAND IN SRI LANKA
1st Test March 26-30, Galle
2nd Test April 3-7, Colombo
Probable England team: A Strauss (capt), A Cook, I Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, R Bopara, M Prior (wkt), S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson, M Panesar.
Live on Sky Sports 1
Anderson said: 'You cannot overstate the importance of being properly hydrated in these conditions. There are not too many big drinkers in this team, so it's not a massive issue for us, but the lads just don't want to do anything that could detract from our performance or could possibly cause us issues on the field.
'So far on this tour, if we've a had a beer a few days out of game then it's been literally two or three. But with the games so close together I won't have a drink now until the end of the second Test. I don't think I'll be the only one … we have a job to do out here.'
Hot stuff: Anderson tries to cool off after session in the nets
A long list of former England stars might find such self-denial hard to swallow, but Anderson and Co are taking deadly seriously the issues of keeping outwardly cool and inwardly hydrated in conditions one former England coach once described as 'very nearly too hot for Europeans to be playing cricket in'.
Anderson said: 'From the moment you walk out of your air-conditioned hotel room you start sweating and you don't stop all day. Even Alastair Cook, never previously known to perspire, had a bead on the other day when he made his 160. He panicked so much he sent for boxfuls of new gloves. If your kids were out in it you'd call them back indoors.'
And those concerns extend beyond straightforward physical well-being.
'There are several potential problems: some of the lads have been getting headaches, we're aware of Graham Thorpe finishing the Colombo Test back in 2001 on a hospital drip.
'There is no doubt that the heat can disrupt your focus and shorten your fuse, and we can't allow that to happen. And, as a bowler, sweating hands means it is very hard to keep the ball dry, especially if we want to get reverse-swing.'
But equally, the 29-year-old who, with 249 Test wickets needs four more to overhaul fellow Lancashire legend Brian Statham to become England's fifth highest Test wicket-taker, believes England are well prepared, with a range of measures to maintain their cool.
'Some of it can be psychological, in that if you go on about how difficult it is going to be, that can also drain you. We have to accept it's going to be hot, accept it's going to be 10 days of tough cricket because we don't want anything to take away from our concentration.
'But two weeks getting acclimatised has helped and there are measures we can and will take to make sure we are as near to peak levels as we can be.
'We'll be weighed first thing in the morning then last thing at night to make sure we are not losing too much; I've been dropping half a kilo a day, which is OK, but Matt Prior shed 4kg last week and that sort of loss could be an issue.
'And I think myself and Stuart Broad will have to bowl shorter spells.'