"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.
Viv Richards Test stats
"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."
England's number one status will be on the line in their next Test series, when second-ranked South Africa visit for three Tests in July and August, and Richards sees the contest as the ultimate test of their credentials.
"England are at home so they are going to be favourites, but I'm not going to predict this one," he said.
"The South Africa attack is one of the best you can face in world cricket. They have some guys with serious wheels, like Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and the leg-spinner Imran Tahir can offer variety too.
"So you are going to have a much more difficult series. This series will determine where England should go and where they can end up."
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