Pakistan v England in the UAE 2015
Tour Manager's Reviews
The UAE is one of the newest and most exciting cricket destinations on the planet. With modern facilities and guaranteed sunshine, our travellers had a wonderful time, despite the results on the pitch... Here are a few comments from the tour managers that helped make the trip a success:
Carl's Tour Review
After an enthralling summer of cricket against New Zealand and Australia culminating in the Ashes returning home, England headed to the UAE to face Pakistan looking to avenge the series defeat in 2012.
Up first was Abu Dhabi where our base was the impressive Yas Island, home of the Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit and conveniently located for the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Howzat Travellers stayed at either the 4* Crowne Plaza or the 3* Park Inn which were both well received.
The Test Match was dominated by the bat with Shoaib Malik (245) and Alastair Cook (263) both scoring big double hundreds. Only 16 wickets fell in the first 4 days and looked to be heading for a predictable draw, but on the final day the game came to life! 15 wickets fell as England dismissed Pakistan for 173, Adil Rashid taking five wickets on his test debut.
Unfortunately for the travelling Howzat supporters England fell 25 runs short of a remarkable win as fading light brought an end to the game. Another wonderful example of why Test cricket remains the best format of the game.
Customers heading home from Abu Dhabi enjoyed dinner with the Daily Mail Cricket Correspondent Paul Newman at Filini Italian Restaurant.
We transferred to Dubai for the second Test Match where our chosen hotels were the delightful Sofitel in Jumeirah Beach and the Royal Ascot in Bur Dubai close to the Creek. Ahead of the cricket many of the tour party enjoyed the sights of Dubai including the Burj Khalifa, City Tours, Desert Safari and Creek Cruise. Some preferred to simply relax by the pool and do some shopping!
England performed admirably at the ‘Ring of Fire’ Dubai International Cricket Stadium. After a collapse on the morning of day three which handed the initiative to Pakistan, nobody expected the epic rearguard action we witnessed on the final day as Pakistan won with just 6.3 overs remaining to lead the series 1-0. It was heartbreaking after the efforts of the lower order, in particular Adil Rashid and Mark Wood.
Former county cricketer and now TMS commentator Charlie Dagnall joined us for our Dubai farewell dinner at the Sofitel. A wonderful evening was enjoyed by all as Charlie entertained us with numerous stories from his playing days and fielded many questions from the tour group.
For the final Test in Sharjah we moved across the Creek to ‘Old Dubai’ and the Deira area of the city to stay at the Flora Grand Hotel. This ensured our daily transfers up to Sharjah avoided the Dubai traffic!
Despite a first innings lead and 76 from local Leicestershire lad James Taylor, England couldn’t deal with Pakistan’s spinners and slipped to a 127 run defeat in Sharjah to lose the series 2-0. Overall England performed really well in challenging conditions and their efforts were appreciated by the Howzat travelling supporters.
We rounded off the tour with a fantastic cruise down the Dubai Creek on the rustic Al Mansour Dhow. A delicious traditional Arabic buffet was enjoyed by all and our special guest for the evening was John Etheridge, The Sun’s Cricket Correspondent who chatted openly with our customers about all things cricket.
Another thoroughly enjoyable Howzat Travel tour despite the cricket results. Thanks to everybody for your company and I look forward to seeing you again on a future trip.
Nick's Tour Review
I was delighted to be in the UAE for the last two tests of the Pakistan series in Dubai and Sharjah this autumn. It was ten days of cricket, 35° of heat, and in Dubai, the most comfortable armchair seat I have ever had in any ground in 50 years of watching cricket!
The cricket was always interesting, although the run rate and the subsequent scores were not astonishing. The matches were very close but the results did not quite go as we had hoped.
That having been said, I was once again privileged to be accompanied by 20 wonderful Howzat Travel tourists, all very interesting and sociable in their nature. Obviously the bar of the glorious Sofitel hotel, on Jumeirah Beach, was an early evening gathering point for us all before we went our various ways for the nights entertainment.
The hotel boasted a wonderful restaurant, but the area was full of fine eating establishments, a very well positioned hotel!
There are very many things to do Dubai such as sand safaris or a visit to the Burg Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Several of our group opted to do both and some explored the numerous high-quality shopping malls or the nearby Marina, lots of things to do and lots of fun to be had.
We closed our first week with a tremendous buffet on the Veranda of the Sofitel, Howzat Travel were delighted to introduce Charlie Dagnall as our guest for the evening. He was very interesting and had plenty of amusing anecdotes from his playing days. He was very entertaining and everyone made comment on what a tremendous evening it was, and what a pleasure it was to have Charlie as our guest, particularly being able to put a face to a relatively new Test Match Special voice.
A change of hotel for the second week saw us at the Flora Grand. A slightly more modest hotel close to the airport and more importantly, the Sharjah cricket ground. This hotel had the most delightful staff who befriended many of us and gave a great service. As ever there was lots of good food options around, including a hearty breakfast at the Flora Grand with numerous good restaurants in the area.
Each morning we travelled traffic free to the Sharjah Cricket Club. The cricket again was very interesting over the five days and we were entertained by Pakistan’s own ‘Barmy Army’ throughout.
I think it is only fair to say at this point how hard the England team worked in such very hot conditions. Although they were unsuccessful they did give everything they had. Well done them for entertaining us throughout.
One of the delights of this trip was to recommend a fabulous Italian restaurant to our touring couple who celebrated an important wedding anniversary. It was wonderful to know how happy they were the next day having enjoyed a fabulous Italian meal and given pride of place in a wonderful restaurant.
On the last night we had our farewell dinner on a Dhow, I must admit this was my first trip on such a vessel and I was not disappointed. As always the food was great, drinks flowing and laughs plentiful. On this occasion John Etheridge, cricket correspondent for the Sun newspaper, was our guest. He is an old friend of Howzat Travel and from the comments made afterwards, he proved to be very popular with our tourists once again.
This was once again a very successful and enjoyable tour. I always believe that we have such wonderful tourists with Howzat Travel, everyone has great fun, great laughs and takes home lots of memories despite the results…
As tour managers it so much fun for my colleagues and I to travel with such delightful people, we always look forward to seeing everyone again. Thanks for coming; you were all great fun to be with.
I cannot wait for South Africa.