South African fast bowler, Dale Steyn expects India to gift a tough competition to England in their upcoming five-match Test series but feels England have the edge in home conditions. Most of the cricketing pundits agree to the fact that Team India has the armory to defeat England as the visitors are the no. 1 side for a reason.
Steyn, who played only a bit role in the first Test when India toured South Africa earlier this year and lost 2-1, expressed that Virat Virat Kohli and his men are ‘capable of anything’. He said, “Led by Virat, this Indian team is capable of anything. I know Virat pretty well. He’s quite a determined character. Five Test matches are going to be good for one team and if one team gets on a roll the other team will be blown away.”
Last month, England drew the home Test series against Pakistan 1-1, but had lost 1-0 away against New Zealand in March and 4-0 in the Ashes in Australia prior to that. But the ability of their pacers, especially James Anderson and Stuart Broad, could make a difference.
Steyn recently surpassed Shaun Pollock to become the highest Test wicket-taker in South Africa with a tally fo 421 dismissals. During an event of GoPro in Mumbai, he said, “It’s going to be a hard-fought Test series. The England bowlers are a little bit more skilled and that’s where the difference will be … that will be the tipping point. India does rely heavily on their spinners and they do a great job in one-day cricket. At the moment, the wickets are pretty flat (in England) and there hasn’t been a lot of turn, especially in the four-dayers in county cricket. So they’re going to rely on their fast bowlers. And if they don’t have them, then they’re in trouble.”
The last time England and India played Test series, India won 4-0. But that was in India in late 2016. But India have won a Test series in England only thrice – 1971, 1986 and 2007, and lost 3-1 the last time, in 2014.
Predicting India’s chances this time around, Dale said, “The advantage probably lies with England, obviously being at home. India has been there for ODIs and is a very good touring team now. If I put my money, I will probably put it on England. But it is going to be tight. These are conditions that England are used to. Home series generally goes away with home sides.”
Steyn concluded by stating that Indians have only got better after the tour to the rainbow nation and the current team plays equally good in the foreign conditions as well. He said, “They treated themselves in South Africa, which I consider is the hardest place to play cricket. They came to South Africa and just got better. It could be true in England too.”
The first between England and Test India will start on 1 August at Edgbaston.