The legendary all-rounder said anchorman Cheteshwar Pujara will be central to India’s batting and that his staying powers will be crucial.

Former India captain Kapil Dev said the five-Test series in England will determine the talented and great players in the Indian side.

The legendary all-rounder said anchorman Cheteshwar Pujara will be central to India’s batting and that his staying powers will be crucial.

“This team looks strong. We have Virat Kohli. He is the number one batsman in the world. Pujara is ideal to play five-day cricket and five Tests. If he plays well, the result can come out in India’s favour. Pujara can play the whole day, he has that temperament.

“I am not saying Kohli is any less important, but Pujara is the key player for me.’’

India has played 52 Tests in England and won only five.

“It’s not going to be easy at all. If our batsmen score runs this time, our bowlers will do much better. There will be more hope if Ravichandran Ashwin (off break) or Ravindra Jadeja (left arm spinner) start bowling well outside India. If they bowl well, I think it will be a different story. Ishant Sharma is the leader of the pace pack and if he comes good, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami too will excel in the conditions there,’’ said Kapil at a media interaction arranged by Star Sports here on Tuesday.

Tough tour

One of the top Indian bowlers to have taken wickets on English soil, Kapil said no tour of England will be easy. “Definitely not. The weather changes there so fast that you have to adjust quickly. The biggest test for any cricketer in England is the weather. That’s why we always say every cricketer must play one or two seasons in county cricket. They used to play county cricket, but nowadays they don’t get the chance because of the tight schedule, and so it’s tough for even the experienced players.’’

Kapil probably felt that the Indian team was short of a genuine all-rounder. “It’s important to manage with the team we have. Had there been one good all-rounder, it would have been a different story altogether; an all-rounder who could bowl 20 overs in a day and bat at No. 6 or 7. Stuart Binny has to do a lot more to get into the team. He does not give the impression that he can bowl 20 overs in a day.

“If he can manage that then he would look totally different; he’s a brilliant fielder, but I have doubts if he can bowl 20 overs. Let’s be critical when we are required to be critical. All of them are four-over bowlers basically. I have not seen them bowling 20-30 overs, That’s where I have doubts, but let us give the benefit of the doubt to these boys. When you have to bowl 90 overs a day it has to be planned properly,’’ said Kapil.

Kapil praised the BCCI for scheduling a five-Test series.

“It’s fantastic. This is the real test of cricket. I wish I was playing the five Test series there. Certain cricketers are meant to play Test cricket. Like Pujara. In a couple of years he would be ready for ODIs or T20s. But today he is your backbone.

“He is the cricketer who can put shutters down like Rahul Dravid and say I like to bat the whole day. Today tours are better planned and organised. Did you ever think in 80s we could have afforded to take 18 people; no way. Today the Board can afford it; it’s good. The Board has money and it uses it too. Let’s give it credit.’’

Kapil said that India has to deal with Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in order to make headway. “England’s bowling would be much hard to deal with. Jimmy Anderson is key. I think Anderson will make the difference between the two teams.’’

More In: Cricket | Sport