London - For the majority of England's young squad, the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE is a step into the unknown. But while they attempt to adjust to the heat and conditions in the nets at the ICC academy in Dubai, there is another new face in the group with plenty of experience to draw upon.

Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka captain who is being employed as England's batting consultant on tour, made more than 9000 of his 11814 Test runs in Asia. He is also familiar with the opposition, having played more Tests against Pakistan than any other country. Over the last four years alone, Jayawardene was involved in four Pakistan series, including two in the UAE.

His appointment to a first coaching role by England was based upon his batting expertise in the subcontinent - England also have tours to India and Bangladesh in the next 18 months - and he has already been working closely with his charges. Only Alastair Cook and Ian Bell remain from the top order who were confounded by Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman in 2012 and James Taylor described Jayawardene's knowledge as "invaluable" as England prepare to put up a better fight this time.

"He's been outstanding," Taylor said. "He's very approachable. I'm fortunate enough to have played against him as well, so he knows me a little bit. That helps that relationship, he knows how I play.

"His experience is invaluable. It's brilliant to have him around - especially a guy who is a similar stature to me, that helps me personally as well playing spin. All the lads have spent plenty of time working on their game with him."

How England's batsmen fare against slow bowling will be one of the key battlegrounds, with Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah lining up to emulate Ajmal and Rehman. Shah posted a timely reminder of his ability with 6 for 26 in an ODI in Harare shortly after England landed in the UAE and even Jayawardene, who retired before the legspinner's Test debut last October, will only be able to help in general terms.

"I saw him in the World Cup briefly, but I haven't seen him so much in red-ball cricket," Taylor said of Shah, who recently became the fastest Pakistani to 50 Test wickets. "I know he's obviously performed really well recently. It's another challenge we're all looking forward to."

It is three years since Taylor made his two Test appearances to date but he forced his way back into the squad via an impressive one-day series against Australia. Although it seems unlikely that he will find a route into a middle order that is set to comprise of Ian Bell, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes, his ability against spin could see him come into contention, starting with two warm-up games against Pakistan A scheduled for next week.

Taylor first won a sustained run in an England shirt on the ODI tour of Sri Lanka last winter, battling the oppressive heat and slow surfaces. He has not yet had an extended opportunity to make a case with the Test side but nimble feet and a diminutive stature are useful attributes in this part of the world - as Jayawardene can attest.

"I love playing spin. It's something I really enjoy," Taylor said. "Obviously, there's potentially going to be quite a lot of spin bowled out here. So I hope I do what I have previously.

"It's going to be tough conditions, but it's a chance for me to stake a claim and try to get back in the side. We have two opportunities in the warm-up games, so it's up to me to pull my finger out and score some runs. "I'm delighted to be back in. It's been a long few years … But I've worked really hard, and I'm definitely a better player than I was in 2012."

Winning away from home has become harder than ever and, as visiting teams have found over recent years, there are few tougher propositions than taking on Pakistan in the UAE. England's recent success has come on the back of a high tempo game played since the start of their home season but they may have to find a lower cruising speed if they are to last the distance in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

With temperatures rising to as high as 45C, the England players have taken to draping themselves in towels and wearing neckerchiefs to try and stay cool during practice. As Autumn begins to strengthen its grip back in England, it is another challenge that Taylor is willing to endure.

"We're giving it our best to get acclimatised as soon as possible," he said. "We've had a couple of tough training sessions. But the boys are loving it - we'd prefer to be out here in 40 degrees than in the cold in England. Also, you get to work on your tan, which is perfect."