Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 2 (ANI): Former skipper Kevin Pietersen has explained why the Virat Kohli-led Indian team will have an edge over England in the upcoming four-match Test series.
India and England are set to lock horns in four Tests, three ODIs, and five T20Is. The first two games of the Test series will be played in Chennai before the cricketers move to Ahmedabad for the third and fourth Tests.
Star batsman Bairstow has been rested for the first two Tests against India. Pietersen feels since England has not picked their best side for the first two games it makes India favourites for the Test series slated to begin on Friday.
"India's got experience at home, they definitely do. They've got Kohli coming back. England has not taken their best team for the first two Test matches," said Pietersen on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
"I think Johnny Bairstow has to be there and I don't think he's going to be there. India are definitely favourites. 100% they're the favourites, because England haven't taken their best team or they're certainly not starting with their best team," he added.
Regular skipper Virat Kohli is back with the Indian squad and Ajinkya Rahane will take the back seat. Meanwhile, England pacer James Anderson was in red hot form last month in Sri Lanka. The former skipper Pietersen analysed the important storylines to watch out for ahead of the India-England Test series.
"Kohli, Anderson, Ajinkya Rahane, how's he going to go, being captain in Australia and then coming back and Kohli, how's that dynamic going to work? It's going to be a very interesting dynamic. I think that might be, something that is talked about a lot during this series," said Pietersen.
"Then you have got Jofra Archer, can he knock over Pujara? Bumrah's back... there are so many different permutations that could happen in this Test series, but I think there's going to be a very interesting story that's going to run through this series - Kohli comes back as captain after Ajinkya Rahane was so good in Australia," he further said.
"I know Joe Root has been outstanding in Sri Lanka, so he's clearly somebody who's going to come in with a lot of form. England's opening batsmen - have they got enough time to turn their techniques around? Sibley did well in the last Test match. Has Crawley got enough time to turn his technique around? Is Burns going to come back in?" Pietersen added.
Pietersen feels there will be too many stars to watch out for in the upcoming tour and is eagerly waiting for the "fantastic" series to kick off.
"Ben Stokes is there, and he's an absolute super star. Is Anderson going to be able to do the business? Then, you have got Ashwin, Bumrah, Kohli, Rahane, Pujara...there are too many super stars for me to sit here and pick one player in particular. I just think that it's going to be a fantastic series - slow wickets, but two great teams!" said Pietersen
The first Test between India and England will be played from Friday, while the second is slated to begin on February 13. (ANI)