All eyes will be on Sachin Tendulkar when India visit Lord’s for the first Test next week, the Indian maestro chasing his 100th international hundred at the home of cricket.
While it would be a fairytale outcome for Tendulkar were he to reach three figures in what is also the 2000th Test match ever, and 100th between England and India, Andrew Strauss is determined to deny the Little Master a dream moment.
While Strauss admits to being a huge admirer of the 38-year-old, he has ruled out any suggestions that his side will be fazed by Tendulkar’s reputation as England attempt to usurp the world’s leading Test outfit.
“I don’t think that is the way our team operates,” said the England captain.
“Clearly he deserves a lot of praise for what he has achieved in the game.
“But out there in the middle we will be even more determined to get him out cheaply, because of what he has achieved.
“I know our bowlers will look upon it as a fantastic challenge for them – and it is a challenge they are definitely up for.”
“I don’t like the word sledging,” added Strauss.
“But what I would say is we will be trying as hard as possible to make all their batsmen feel as uncomfortable as possible in the middle – and he is no exception to that.”
“His record at dealing with pressure situations has been pretty good in the past, but if he is 5% off his game, we need to exploit that.”
While Strauss is just four years younger than Tendulkar, the man from Mumbai started his international career a full decade before the England captain, and the 34-year-old Strauss still remembers the Little Master’s first appearance in England 21-years ago.
“I first saw him in the 1990 series. The first Test I saw live was when (Graham) Gooch got his 333 and I saw him bat then. I was 13,” he said.
“I’ve had a few chats with him over the years and he is the ultimate ambassador for the game, very humble, very polite, and enjoys talking about the game.
“He is genuinely still in love with the game, and that is what drives him on.”
History points to England getting the better of Tendulkar at Lord’s, a venue where the right-hander has a highest score of just 37. Two members of Strauss’ present line-up also had some success against him on India’s previous visit to English shores.
“Jimmy (James Anderson) got him out a couple of times lbw, and (Chris) Tremlett made life uncomfortable for a few of their batsman,” Strauss said.
“Obviously we will be looking at footage of that series – while we are aware a lot changes in four years.”
“He is a hard man to get inside his head.”
“He bats with a lot of calmness, but I’m sure in his mind he would love to get a hundred at Lord’s.
“It would be a fantastic way for him to reach 100 hundreds. It would be a fairytale for him.
“But I’m not a big fan of those sort of fairytales, to be honest,” concluded Strauss, “we prefer to create our own fairytales.” Cricket365