India’s Rahul Dravid feels that the upcoming Test series against England is too close to call, but is confident the tourists can be competitive if they keep their fast bowlers fit.
India arrived in England on Tuesday morning on the back of their successful tour of the West Indies, where they beat the islanders 1-0 in a three-match Test series despite missing several senior players.
Although India are currently ranked first in the ICC Test rankings, Dravid is well aware of England’s capabilities on home soil.
“All series are important series,” he told The Cricketer magazine. “But this one is important because it’s a series between two teams that have had good recent records, which gives it a bit more context.
“We won in England last time, so from that point of view England will want to do better this time.
“It’s a hard one to call. England are playing at home, so they have that advantage.
“We’re a good side, a settled side, and we’ve been playing good cricket over the last couple of years.
“If we can keep our fast bowlers fit, then we’ll be very competitive.”
India’s fast bowling stocks are arguably stronger after the tour of the West Indies, where Praveen Kumar took 12 wickets to add his name to Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth on the list of viable options.
As far as England’s bowling attack goes, Dravid, who was captain when India beat England 1-0 four years ago, knows exactly who he’ll be watching out for.
“James Anderson has bowled really well. He’s been the trump card,” said Dravid.
“Obviously Graeme Swann is a top-class spinner. We first saw him in England bowling here last time, and the boys rated him.
“He’s come on leaps and bounds from then and has become one of their lead bowlers.
“Swann and Anderson are the key.”
Swann is currently the leading spin bowler in the world in both Test and one-day internationals according to the ICC rankings, but Dravid believes that India’s batsmen have the skills to deal with him.
“He’s an attacking bowler, and that’s one of the things that is different,” Dravid said of Swann.
“He’s not just looking to contain; he’s looking to take wickets. He’s not scared to toss the ball up and gets turn with good sideways spin.
“It will be a good contest against batsmen who are good players against spin, who will not be scared to take him on.” Cricket365