England to start as favourites against S. Africa in Test series: Holding

London, July 15 (ANI): Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding believes England will win the upcoming series against South Africa.

In an interview given to Pakpassion, Holding said Holding felt that good starts by the top order batsmen are essential for both teams, given the strength of opposing line ups.

He said the home team starts as the favourites.

Holding who took 249 wickets in 60 Test matches also believes that it would be a miscalculation on England's part if they underestimated Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander's capabilities as bowlers and instead solely focussed on the outstanding abilities of Dale Steyn when preparing for the series.

"Steyn is a fantastic bowler who leads the South African bowling attack very well, but the South African pace attack as a unit is not totally reliant upon Dale Steyn. They have Morne Morkel too who is a good bowler. Whilst Morkel has not probably done as well as some people were touting him to do, he cannot be underestimated. In addition the South Africans have Vernon Philander who has come into the team and done very well," said Holding.

"The conditions in England will suit Philander, he's not a tearaway fast bowler, rather someone who bowls a good line and length and gets the ball to move around, so it's not just about Dale Steyn, but rather about all three of the South African pace bowlers. England cannot afford to underestimate Morkel and Philander," he added.

"The South Africans in addition to the three pronged pace attack have leg spinner Imran Tahir in their ranks but unless the weather improves, I don't see the spinners having too much of an effect on this upcoming series," Holding said.

Holding also feels that the wickets at the Oval and Lords where the first and third Test matches will be played will suit the tall Morne Morkel who has 139 wickets in 39 Test matches and assist him to generate extra bounce on those surfaces.

"Two of the three Test matches will be played in London where the pitches are quite hard and there will be a good amount of bounce. They won't be particularly fast wickets, but both wickets at Lords and the Oval will offer the bowlers a bit of bounce, they are good cricket pitches and with Morkel being so tall should be able to get the ball to bounce awkwardly on those surfaces and I suspect he will be supporting Dale Steyn. I would expect Morkel to do a pretty good job on those types of wickets."

Turning his attention to the England bowling attack, Holding felt that the England bowling attack is a fantastic one with competition for places in the pace department the key to some excellent performances.

"They have 5 or 6 fast bowlers that they can pick any three from and bring in Graeme Swann in as the spinner. Any three quick bowlers that have been picked recently have done well with James Anderson the leader of the attack and I'm absolutely sure that England will be trying to ensure that Anderson plays in all three Test matches against South Africa," said the former Windies quick.

Holding felt the South African batting line up is one that knows it's roles very well and Amla and D Villiers have important roles to play in supporting Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.

"The series will be played between two very good teams and a lot will depend upon the conditions. There are a lot of good players and match winners in both teams, but for me England are the favourites, they have been playing good cricket and the series is at home for England and they are in good form, " Holding said. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Pietersen may play against Hyderabad

Pietersen may play against Hyderabad

As much as Pietersen's availability is a boost, the loss of a potent death bowler might sting Delhi badly. More »

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Mumbai have explosive hitters down the order in the form of Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard, but the lack of contributions from them has compounded their… More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Atapattu appointed Sri Lanka interim coach

Atapattu appointed Sri Lanka interim coach

Among Atapattu's major challenges will be accounting for the knowledge England already possess of the Sri Lanka team, through Paul Farbrace's England … More »

Srinivasan's ICC presence to be challenged

Srinivasan's ICC presence to be challenged

Srinivasan, who has been replaced by the court as board president, was named the BCCI's representative to the ICC last September. However, that position… More »

Brilliant Maxwell powers Punjab’s renaissance

Brilliant Maxwell powers Punjab’s renaissance

Maxwell has easily been the best player on display in the first nine days, with scores of 95, 89 and 95 helping Punjab shed their image of also-rans and… More »

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Indian cricket is now dope-free

Indian cricket is now dope-free

The BCCI conducted over 200 dope tests during senior domestic tournaments in the just-ended 2013-14 season – the largest number of tests done by an ICC… More »

T20 is all about the little things: Balaji

T20 is all about the little things: Balaji

Balaji acknowledged Maxwell’s role in Punjab’s great start to season seven, but he insists that the efforts of other players like Virender Sehwag, among… More »

Couldn't turn down ECB offer: Farbrace

Couldn't turn down ECB offer: Farbrace

England's new assistant coach Paul Farbrace admitted that it was impossible turn down the job even though he will have mixed feelings when he faces… More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Is Srini group delaying BCCI meeting?

Is Srini group delaying BCCI meeting?

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Atapattu likely to be SL interim coach

Atapattu likely to be SL interim coach

Sri Lanka's chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya issued the strongest indication yet that Marvan Atapattu would be appointed coach for the tour of Ireland… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

'Gambhir will strike form soon'

'Gambhir will strike form soon'

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »