Mumbai: South African pacer Dale Steyn said on Thursday that 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 1 August.
"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 in Mumbai.
The South African did not rule out India's chances completely and factored in the role of conditions, saying, "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 K L 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 added.
Reiterating his point about the role of English bowlers, he said, "It's going to be a high-scoring series but England's bowlers are probably just a little bit better than the Indians and that will be the difference. I think it's (weather in England) massively dry. It's going to be a lot of runs. But they are conditions that England are used to. Home series generally goes away with home sides."
Asked about Cheteshwar Pujara, who hasn't been doing great of late, he said, "one thing I know about Pujara is that he likes to bat for long hours. If the wickets are flat in England, India are going to have that source on whom they can rely on. He can bat long for them and it will be tough for England to get him out."
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," said Steyn.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Guptill has 3248 runs to his name compared to Kohli's 3227. Guptill averages a little over 30 while Kohli is way ahead of him on that front with an average of 52
The first match will be played between India U-19 A and India U-19 B on November 28. The final will be played on 7 December
Rahul and Kohli are the only Indians to feature in the top 10 in T20 rankings