‘We hope to play a special innings to beat India,’ says Strauss

London, July 20: Speaking on the eve of the first cricket Test between England and India, the 100th between the two countries and 2000th overall, skipper Andrew Strauss said that he expected his team to play a special innings to beat India in the series and wrest the number one world ranking that the visitors currently have.

“I mean, there is a lot of interest. I mean, it is a series that does not need much building. To be honest, there are obviously a lot of outstanding players on both sides. And, it is one way we are keenly looking forward to. I think we have got a great opportunity to play some really good cricket, and hopefully, pull off something special in the next five weeks,” Strauss said.

Strauss said that he was hopeful about England displaying “something special” to pull of a series victory, and candidly admitted that this series in terms of competition, was comparable to the traditional Ashes series that takes place between England and Australia.

“Well, I think cricket wise, it is certainly as big a challenge as the Ashes, no doubt about that. I mean, the Ashes has got the extra attention and extra rivalry between England and Australia, which is very deep-rooted and a longstanding one. But look, India, are a very good cricket side for a while now, and, if you want to be the best side in the world, you have to beat sides like India,” he added.

“It is a big challenge for us because we got our home advantage, which, I think, counts for a lot. But, we need to use that wisely,” he added.

He also said that the goal of being the number side was not necessarily what the statistics reveal, but more about being regarded and acknowledged as the number one cricket side in the world, which he said was a long-term goal of the squad.

“The goal of being the number one side in the world is not necessarily just what the statistics say. It is more about being regarded as the number one side in the world by other sides as well,”Strauss said.

He added: “So, it is a long term goal of ours. But, what I would say is that we are going to go out and beat them to win every Test in the series.

He also said that England would not be focussing on Sachin Tendulkar only, but on the whole Indian side.

“We are not focussing more or less on Sachin and any other Indian player, but fairly, you know, we do not want that fairy tale of him (achieving his 100th international century) to come true. We need to deliver our plans and hopefully by doing that we will limit his chances of getting that hundred,” Strauss said.

“I think both sides are really looking forward to this. Aw, I said before it does not need any more hype or building up, but, as an extra context to it, that makes it an even more special Test match,” he added.

He also expressed his reservations about the decision to dispense with the ball-tacking technology during the India-England series. He said he thought the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) had worked very well over the past 12 to 18 months. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)