Kapil: 'Indian team looks far better in home conditions'

In Kapil Dev's view, India had an upper hand in the bowling department. "I think on paper, Indian team looks far better in these conditions. And the way they played against New Zealand, they look much much better than England."

Kapil Dev VVS Laxman India v England Test series

Kapil Dev and VVS Laxman during a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.   -  Sandeep Saxena

An India-England series may not have always appealed to the Indian audience. An India-Pakistan encounter or, in recent times, India playing Australia have created greater excitement and competition. But a Test series at home always generates that extra edge among the cricket followers.

For Kapil Dev, now a commentator, it is the spectator who decides the stature of the contest. “India v England has its own charm. India v Australia too. But then nothing can match the aura of an India v Pakistan match. It's the interest that people show that makes the game,” he said here.

VVS Laxman felt Australia series may fare better with the Indian fans. “An India-Australia Test series will be highly competitive. England will want to start afresh even though they lost the last Test match in Bangladesh. They may want to put up a fight. Because this is a five-Test series, any team has got an opportunity to bounce back. We have to wait and see how they start. If they don't start well, I think it will be a one-sided series,” he assessed England's chances on Indian soil.

In Kapil's view, India had an upper hand in the bowling department. “I think on paper, Indian team looks far better in these conditions. And the way they played against New Zealand, they look much much better than England. Knowing England they are true professionals, they will bounce back.”

Laxman viewed it differently. “England has good fast bowlers but unfortunately they are lacking in spin department. Too much of dependence on Moeen Ali. He is not a regular spinner but has done well within his limitations. A lot to expect from their fast bowlers. Stuart Broad is leader of the pack, capable fast bowlers. India have a settled line-up with three quality spinners in Amit Mishra, Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja to choose from.”

On his favourite India-England moment, Kapil responded, “The Test match at Lord's that we won in 1986. That was very important moment. I think every cricketer wants to win abroad. Once you start winning abroad, you start believing in yourself much more.”

Laxman's favourite India v England moment was in 2002. “Headingley in 2002 was special. Sourav (Ganguly) won the toss in conditions favourable to the English bowlers. It was fantastic to see the way in which Rahul (Dravid), Sachin (Tendulkar) and Sourav got hundreds. More so the manner in which Sanjay Bangar batted. Because he was not a regular opener. To bat for more than 230 balls even though he got 60 odd runs. That showed the character we had. That was a memorable victory. The 2007 Test series victory was satisfying and memorable. The Test match in Chennai 2008 was again memorable, chasing a mammoth total in the fourth innings. Fantastic. Even though I was not a part of this, the 2014 victory at Lord's was memorable.”