Former captain Rahul Dravid termed the upcoming five-match Test series in England as a challenging one but was confident India can compete well against the hosts if the bowlers step up and deliver on the seam-friendly conditions.
“It is going to be a challenging series, there is no doubt about it. If India can find a couple of bowlers who can step up during the series, then I think they are in for a great series,” said the former cricketer at a promotional event organised by Gillette in Mumbai on Tuesday.
India are to play a five-Test series for the first time since 1959 and Dravid feels the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side showed plenty of signs of possessing quality players on their two previous overseas tours recently - to South Africa late last year and New Zealand early this year.
“I think five Test matches is never easy but I believe India has got a pretty good side. From what I have seen in the last two series in South Africa and New Zealand, they came close to winning a Test match in both the series. Whether it was in Johannesburg or whether it was in New Zealand, they had their chances but they just couldn’t grab them,” he remarked.
“I think this might be a good time and a good series for them to make that jump and actually win one or two Test matches abroad. If they do that then they will get a lot of confidence because they are quite a young side, a developing side. The challenge again I believe for India is that ability to get 20 wickets.
“You must find a way to get 20 wickets. You saw that with Sri Lanka in the last game as well, they just didn’t seem to be able to get 20 wickets against England. That becomes a big challenge for sub-continent teams when we travel abroad,” Dravid pointed out.
The tour commences on June 26 with a three-day game in Leicester. The visitors are to play one more three-day warm-up game against Derbyshire (July 1-3) before the five-match Test series starts on July 9 at Trent Bridge.
The other Tests are to be played at Lord’s (July 17-21), Ageas Bowl in Southampton (July 27-31), Old Trafford (August 7-11) and The Oval (August 15-19).
Though the Indian squad named for the Tests is packed with medium pacers, Dravid felt that the two spinners - Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin - could come into the picture late in the Tests if the weather in England is hot.
“I believe if the summer is hot and if the Test goes on till fourth and fifth day, it does start turning in England and people like Ashwin and Jadeja can come to the fore as well,” he said.
“Ashwin and Jadeja are both quite young so the more they play, the better they get. It will be interesting to see if India can play both of them in the continued…