Mumbai : South African pace great Dale Steyn on Thursday said the Virat Kohli-led India is “capable of anything” but still backed England to prevail in the upcoming Test series owing to the home team’s more “skilled” bowling attack.
“I don’t like any predictions. The advantage probably lies with England, obviously being at home and with such a long tour. It tends to become very long. They have been there for ODIs and are a very good touring team now. [But] if I put my money, I will probably put it on England,” Steyn said.
The five-match series starts with the first Test in Birmingham from August 1. “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.
“[But] 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,” the 35-year-old told reporters at a promotional event for ‘GoPro’ here.
The Protea did not rule out India’s chances completely and factored in the role of conditions. “If the ball swings they [England seamers] are going to play a massive role but if it doesn’t swing then how are they going to get someone like Kohli or Shikhar (Dhawan), who opens the batting, and KL Rahul [out]?
“They played well 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.”
Steyn felt that with the Indian attack likely to miss Jasprit Bumrah [for the first Test] and Bhuvneshwar Kumar [for at least the first three], things will not be easy for them.
“India do 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 are going to rely on their fast bowlers. And if they don’t have them, then the are in trouble,” he said.
To retire after WC Plagued by injuries over the last couple of years, Steyn is aiming to retire from limited overs cricket after the 2019 World Cup in England.
“I will be trying to get to that World Cup [in England]. But after the World Cup I don’t see myself playing white ball cricket for South Africa. By the time the next World Cup comes, I will be 40,” he said.
Steyn is hopeful that his huge experience would help him earn a place in that UK bound World Cup squad.