England took over the top of the Test rankings for the first time last summer, displacing India with a 4-0 series whitewash after an Ashes series win in Australia.
And Richards, 60, who played a starring role in the all-conquering Windies team that did not lose a Test series between 1980 and 1995, feels Strauss’ men can enjoy a long stay at the top.
“England are well led by Andrew Strauss and this is a team that has the potential to create a legacy,” he told BBC Sport yesterday.
“They have done their homework and found a solid wicket-taking bowling unit which is of vital importance at this level.”
Richards, who scored 8,540 runs in 121 Tests, warned though that England’s iconic status hinged on their ability to win away.
England were beaten 3-0 by Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year and, after drawing 1-1 in Sri Lanka, face a tough trip to India at the end of the year.
“It is up to the individuals, but in order to become legendary and great you must be able to win in all conditions,” he said.
“It is not just getting it done at home, it is going to places like India and Pakistan and getting a result.
“You don’t necessarily have to win, drawing a series can be a good result. It’s like football where away from home, a point is just as vital.
“Not losing, scrapping, this is what great teams do and England have a unit assembled to accomplish that.”
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