London, July 20: England captain Andrew Strauss believes his side can produce ‘something special’ to beat India in the four Test series and become the top-ranked team in the world.
The first of four Tests starts at Lord’s Thursday and if the hosts can win by two Tests’ margin, they will leapfrog to the top spot.
‘We have a great opportunity to play some really good cricket and hopefully pull off something special in the next five weeks,’ Strauss said.
‘India are a very, very good cricket side, they have been for a while now, and if you want to be the best in the world you have to beat sides like India.
‘We have home advantage, which I think counts for a lot, and I think we have to use that wisely. Being No.1 is a long-term goal for us. It’s not necessarily just what the statistics say, it’s more about being regarded No.1 by the other sides as well.’
‘We are going to go out and be determined to win every match in this series and if we get in a winning position it’s important we’re ruthless and make that count.’
Strauss faces the tough task of selecting the final XI including the crucial decision of picking one among the off-form pacers Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan.
‘Someone is going to miss out, but I am very happy with the balance of squad we have,’ Strauss said. ‘All our bowlers offer us something slightly different. What we have to decide is what’s the best combination to take 20 wickets on this pitch.
‘No-one has a God-given right to play in the XI. We know both Stuart and Tim Bresnan have offered a lot for us over the last 12 months or so. It’s not going to be an easy selection to make, but in a way it’s a good thing for us.’
The Tests also holds great importance for India batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who has never scored a Test century at Lord’s and is also bidding to become the first player to score 100 international centuries, having struck 51 in Tests and 48 in one-day internationals.
‘We’re not focusing on Sachin any more or less than any other Indian player but clearly we don’t want that fairytale for him to come true. We need to deliver our plans and hopefully by doing that we’ll limit his chances of getting that hundred,’ Strauss said.