Andrew Strauss confident ahead of India series

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England captain Andrew Strauss has supreme confidence in his team's ability to rise to the challenge against the world's best India this summer.

Strauss is set to guest for Somerset against India in the tourists' only warm-up match, starting in Taunton tomorrow, before the first npower Test of four at Lord's next week.

He could do with some morale-boosting runs in the three-day fixture, having made only 27 in his last three Test innings against Sri Lanka.

But the opener is more concerned with the date that counts, next Thursday, when he will lead England on his home ground in a series which could see them knock India off the top of the International Cricket Council's Test rankings.

"We know the size of the challenge against the number one side in the world, and it will be a tough nut to crack," he told Sky Sports News.

"But these challenges generally bring out the best in our players."

As for his opportunity to bat against India beforehand, he is grateful to Somerset for agreeing to his request for a short-term loan but insists the number of runs he makes - or otherwise - will not dictate how he and England fare in the Test series.

"What happens here has no great factor on what happens in the first Test," he said.

"I don't think what happened against Sri Lanka is all that relevant.

"But I don't think I have ever taken part in a Test match after not playing any cricket in the three weeks beforehand.

"We knew there were scheduling problems at Middlesex, and there were no matches for me there.

"It will be perfect preparation for the Test match, playing against some of their bowlers. But it does not guarantee anything for that first Test."

As for England's ambition to become the world's top Test team for the first time, Strauss points out it does not necessarily have to be achieved over the next month.

"We've always said our ultimate goal is to become the number one side in the world.

"Whether that happens at the end of this series or in six months' or 12 months' time, it is still going to be a goal for us."