England’s batting consultant Mahela Jayawardene urged his new charges to keep things simple while countering Pakistani spinners and tough conditions in the three-match Test series starting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The 38-year-old former Sri Lankan captain was hired to fast track England’s preparation for the challenging series.
Jayawardene said he was sharing his experience in the sub-continent, boasting of an illustrious career of 149 Tests which yielded 11,814 runs.
He also retired from one-day cricket after the 2015 World Cup, having scored 12,650 in 448 matches.
“I am trying to give different ideas, share my experience. What you have to realise is that it’s a process – it’s not going to happen overnight,” Jayawardene told media on the sidelines of England’s practice.
“The conditions – it is going to be tough whether it be the weather or the wickets. It’s about controlling what they can control and keep things nice and simple and then concentration and focus becomes much easier.”
England have been traditionally weak against the spin, especially on the dusty pitches in South Asia and UAE, where they were routed 3-0 by Pakistan in 2012.
Jayawardene praised fast-rising batsman Joe Root, player of the series in England’s 3-2 Ashes win two months ago.
“He (Root) shows it with the bat out in the middle and among the group, the way he contributes towards meetings and the way he thinks about the game. He’s a very good thinking cricketer but he is still open to learn new things and improve, which is great.
“All the guys are like that, it’s a great attitude and if they keep working hard with an open mind they will learn more about the game.”