England get to work... at construction site
Well Henry Blofeld may struggle to find many buses to talk about in Dubai, but he'll have no shortage of cranes to describe when the first Test gets under way here on Tuesday.
This is my first visit to the most populated of the United Arab Emirates - and my first impressions are of a city dominated by imposing skyscrapers, but more recently by unfinished construction work.
England will play their first ever Test on neutral soil in an area known as Dubai Sports City, a £4bn development on the outskirts of the city.
The cricket stadium, nicknamed "The ring of fire", is an impressive 25,000-seater arena with state of the art facilities for players, spectators and the media.
The name derives from the innovative lighting system installed into the rim of the roof which we'll see in action when the day/night one day matches begin at the end of the test series. The posters advertising the games use the tagline "Temperatures are rising at the ring of fire".
But although the stadium looks impressive, the setting is bizarre. All around Dubai Sports City there are hundreds of half built buildings surrounded by idle cranes.
It's all rather eerie - a sort of construction site version of the Marie Celeste. The worldwide recession has caused work on many of the projects in the area to cease and who knows if the building work will ever be finished.
England warmed up for the Test series at the ICC Global Cricket academy just a short distance from the cricket stadium. Again the facilities are impressive, but throughout the matches the playing fields were shrouded with dust blowing from the building sites nearby. While alongside the cricket facility lies an unfinished football academy which was meant to be the first purpose-built Manchester United soccer school in the world.
View from the press box
The headquarters of Cricket's world governing body, the ICC, are also located in Dubai Sports City. Again in theory their offices occupy an impressive location - but the proposed canal basin nearby looks a long way from completion so employees are forced to pass the day with views of dusty trenches and scaffolding rather than the tree-lined waterway they will have seen on the initial plans for the area.
Dubai is currently a city of contrasts - in one part of town there is the tallest building in the world, the incredible Burj Khalifa. At 828 metres high it is the ultimate symbol of opulence. But throughout the city you then have these hundreds of unfinished buildings - a symbol of the financial troubles which, despite its apparent wealth, even Dubai has not managed to escape.
In recent months England's Test team have certainly scaled heights as impressive as some of the skyscrapers which dominate the heart of the city - but like the derelict building sites they will feel they still have unfinished business.
England may start the Test series as the number one side in the world, but they have still much to prove when it comes to winning in the sort of conditions they will expect to face here. They may not be playing in the subcontinent itself, but we expect pitches both here and in Abu Dhabi to be subcontinent in nature.
Construction work in Dubai
Plus the Pakistan side England will be facing have put together an impressive run of results despite the many off the field distractions they have had to deal with. Captain Misbah-Ul-Haq has managed to galvanise his team to become an impressive force with a good blend of youth and experience.
The make-up of the England side for the first Test will be interesting. Normally the Test team is straightforward to predict, but performances in the warm-up matches will make the selectors at least think a little harder.
The Test Match Special team selected for the series is led by Jonathan Agnew with Christopher Martin Jenkins and the aforementioned Henry Blofeld. Michael Vaughan, Geoff Boycott, Vic Marks and Ramiz Raja will provide expert summaries. Alison Mitchell will bring extensive coverage on Radio 5 Live, Joe Wilson will report for BBC TV, plus there will be updates and features on the BBC Asian Network.
The TMS coverage gets under way on 5 live Sports Extra and Radio 4 longwave at 0545 GMT on Tuesday. If you miss any of the action, or want a full review of the day's play, catch our TMS Highlights show which runs throughout the afternoon from 1400 on Sports Extra.
And of course they will be lots to enjoy online including the TMS text commentary. Jonathan Agnew's column, behind the scenes photos and regular blogs.