Kevin Pietersen says Sri Lanka is ‘such a difficult place to tour’ and has warned England they face a ‘very difficult’ Test series over the next two weeks.
England begin a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka on Thursday and are without Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Rory Burns, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Ollie Pope.
Joe Root led the team to a 3-0 victory in their last tour of Sri Lanka in 2018 and a 2-0 win this time around would keep alive their hopes of reaching the World Test Championship final.
Pietersen believes the tour will prove a substantial challenge for England, however, and says the players must prepare for conditions unparalleled around the world.
‘England begin what will be a very difficult series in Sri Lanka this week,’ Pietersen wrote in a column for Betway.
‘Sri Lanka is such a difficult place to tour because of the heat and the humidity. As soon as you walk out of the air-conditioned dressing room with your glasses on then the condensation hits them. It’s like walking into a brick wall.
‘Whether this England team has the skill to deal with what will be an onslaught of spin bowling is one thing, but over there, skill means something else.
‘It means having the mental wherewithal to deal with the temperature and a lot of short and sharp rain intervals.
‘Fatigue hits you really quickly. I saw more players of ours on drips because of cramp in Sri Lanka than anywhere else. Your mental wellbeing and fitness levels are vital.’
With Stokes rested, Pope injured and Burns on paternity leave, Essex star Dan Lawrence is set to make his England debut at No. 5.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed considerable success in county cricket and Graeme Swann, the former England spinner, believes Sri Lanka could be the ideal place for his debut.
‘It’s a great time for Dan Lawrence to make his Test debut,’ he told Betfair.
‘He’s forced his way in through weight of runs which is the way to do it, and I don’t think there are many better places to start as a batsman.
‘The wicket at Galle for the first three or four days is flat as a pancake, it’s a small ground and the outfield is lightning.’
England won Test series against West Indies and Pakistan last summer, while Sri Lanka most recently lost 2-0 to South Africa.
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