Dravid notes importance of Pujara, Kohli

India

Former India captain Rahul Dravid has backed a relatively new-look batting order to succeed during a tough Test series against England across July and August.

Former India captain Rahul Dravid has backed a relatively new-look batting order to succeed during a tough Test series against England across July and August.

Dravid and fellow veterans Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman have retired since India's visit to the United Kingdom in 2011. Opener Virender Sehwag, too, is absent.

The talented Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile, have risen through the ranks – and opener Gautam Gambhir recalled.

"I think the senior players will have to step up. The key guys from each side will have to step up, it will be important for people like Virat and Pujara and the bowlers, and MS Dhoni as well, if they have a good series it gives you a good chance to succeed," said Dravid.

"Having said that, both sides are filled with youngsters so it could be a series where some of the youngsters stand up. Personally, having only looked at the Indians, I wouldn't be surprised if there a couple of names in the batting department where, at the end of the series, we say 'wow, we could see these around for a long time'."

Uncapped seamers Ishwar Pandey, Pankaj Singh and Stuart Binny have been called up for a difficult tour that will bring Tests at Trent Bridge, Lord's, The Rose Bowl, Old Trafford and The Oval. Stalwart left-armer Zaheer Khan was excluded, largely due to injury.

"The key is going to be if you are able to take 20 wickets. When we won the series here in 2007 we were lucky enough to play the same bowling attack in all three matches and that made a big difference," added Dravid.

"Most of them have not played Test cricket here but they have been on A tours before and played here in ODI cricket, including the Champions Trophy recently so a lot of them have been to this country before.

"That is an advantage that they do have. They are an inexperienced batting line-up, there is no doubt about it but they have had the opportunity to at least come and play in these conditions."

The series opener will get underway in Nottingham on Wednesday.

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