England will have slight edge: Steyn

The South African speedster picked the host superior seam bowling attack because of its slightly superior seam bowling attack.

Dale Steyn is of the opinion that Indian skipper Virat Kohli is determined to win in England.   -  AFP

Dale Steyn has played five Test matches in England, all in the months of July and August and took 23 wickets at 31.65. South Africa either won or drew these matches in 2008 and 2012.

Past his prime now, Steyn has also represented Warwickshire and Essex in 13 County matches before turning up for Hampshire in two games this season. A veteran of 88 Test matches, Steyn believes that England will have a slight edge in the five-Test series at home against India.

After playing the two-Test series in Sri Lanka, Steyn — a GoPro Athlete — sent down a few deliveries to sports journalists at ‘Smaaash’, a gaming centre — acknowledged that Virat Kohli’s team put up a good show in South Africa.

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“They got better in the series. That’s why they won the last Test match in Johannesburg. In the one-day games they were a real force to reckon with.”

Responding to a question on whether the toss should be done away with across all formats of the game, Steyn said: "Yes, why not? I was thinking more (about) Test matches. I think the wickets generally in ODI cricket have been a bit too flat. You’re taking the bowlers completely out of the equation.’’

The South African speedster revealed his scorn for two new balls being used in ODIs. "The two-ball rule is just ridiculous in my opinion; the ball’s only 25 overs old, not 50. You’re also taking the skill out of the game. I grew up watching Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis reverse swing the ball; and you try name me one player in the World today who can reverse swing the ball; it’s just not allowed.

"Players are now going to the extent of taking sandpaper on the field. It might sound funny, but this is a desperate plea for cricket to change. Players are going to get into more trouble trying to make the ball do something, if you don’t do something about the game.’’

Interesting series

Admitting that his attention span on the England-India series will be negligible, Steyn nonetheless said: “India has a good side; it’s going to be an interesting series. I won’t make any predictions. But I think the advantage probably lies with England. India is becoming a very good touring team. But if I have to put my money, it’s going to be on England; it’s going to be tight through. The beautiful thing about India is, they got such a big pool of players to call upon. If somebody gets injured, the replacements are generally pretty good. They have Dinesh Karthik up there now.”

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When asked if the second-half summer would suit India, especially because of the arid pitch conditions there, Steyn replied: “I think it’s massively dry there and a lot of runs are going to be scored. Home series generally go with the home team. If the ball swings they (Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad) are going to play a massive role, but if it doesn’t, then how are they going to get someone like Kohli, Shikhar (Dhawan) and K.L. Rahul out!

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“They treated themselves 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. I think 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.”

Steyn believes that India under Virat will try its hardest. “Under Virat, this Indian team is capable of anything. I know Virat pretty well; he is a very determined character. It’s going to be a hard-fought five Test matches.’’

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