The heat is on for TMS in Sri Lanka
A tour of Sri Lanka is often viewed as one of the most difficult for a cricketer with the combination of heat and humidity, flat pitches and hugely talented opposition.
Broadcasting Test Match Special in this country has also brought its challenges over the years. This is my fourth trip to what is known as the "tear drop isle" and there have been a few hairy moments since my first visit here nearly 10 years ago.
My first international match in charge of Test Match Special was in Sri Lanka back in 2003, a one-day international played in Dambulla.
England's Test captain Andrew Strauss made his international debut in that match - but it's not a game he'll remember fondly as he was dismissed for three as England were skittled for 88.
Things weren't much easier up in the TMS commentary box that day.
England's bowlers and fielders will have to find ways of keeping cool in Sri Lanka. Picture: Getty Images
When I arrived in Dambulla there was no sign of any broadcast lines, so the only way we were able to get on air was via a small satellite. However I had a nightmare trying to get a good enough signal, so I ended up balancing a very expensive piece of equipment on a piece of scaffolding - with me hanging onto it throughout the broadcast.
But that was the least of my problems. The stadium in Dambulla is situated in the middle of the jungle and with this game being played under lights, it attracted literally millions of insects. So there I was, holding onto the satellite with both hands while my body was being bitten to pieces by bugs.
My first Test match in Galle wasn't much easier on that trip, with the platform on which we were broadcasting not being built until the game had actually started, and in Colombo I remember doing a match at the Premadasa Stadium where we were literally blown off air by the loudest thunderclap I have ever heard.
Hopefully we will avoid such drama at the Premadasa this week as England begin their tour with a three-day game at the ground against a Sri Lanka Board XI.
But there will be plenty of interest in both this match and the three day game at the Sinhalese Sports Club as England wrestle with what their starting XI should be for the first Test in Galle, starting on 26 March.
Andrew Strauss told me today that no-one has a guaranteed place for the Test and urged his players to make an unanswerable claim to be picked during these two warm-up games.
He said the balance of the side will depend partly on the form of the bowlers and how they will cope with the challenging conditions.
The most likely scenario is that Ravi Bopara will replace the dropped Eoin Morgan and England will stick with two spinners and two seamers. But they could decide to play Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel at six to give them a different bowling option or even promote wicketkeeper Matt Prior to six, with perhaps Tim Bresnan playing to help bolster the lower order.
It is rather unsatisfactory that this will be only a two-Test series and who knows what state the Sri Lanka team may be in. After a long one-day series in Australia they are currently involved in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and may not even arrive back here in Sri Lanka until three days before the Test.
We expect a large Barmy Army contingent here, but I am not sure how many locals will watch with the cheapest ticket priced at 5,000 Sri Lanka rupees, which works out at £25, and some tickets nearer £40.
I mention that traditionally Sri Lanka offers flat pitches, but the surface at Galle was last year reported by the match referee for offering too much for the spinners, and the P Sara Oval in Colombo has a reputation for being helpful to seam bowlers so after some unexpectedly dramatic games in the UAE we could be in for a lively affair here as well.
There is also the weather factor. The driver who picked me up at the airport yesterday cheerfully informed me that we are in the middle of the monsoon season here in Sri Lanka, with the Galle area especially likely to receive long periods of rain.
But let's hope he's wrong and we'll have plenty of cricket for you to enjoy over the next few weeks.
Then, alongside the website live text commentary, join our commentary team of Jonathan Agnew, Simon Mann, Roshan Abeysinghe, Michael Vaughan, Geoff Boycott and Vic Marks from 0415 GMT on 26 March. And if you can't make it that early, don't worry we'll have our new highlights programme and the TMS podcast to help you catch up.