London: It is not just about Sachin Tendulkar's technical proficiency but also his mental strength that helps him in rewriting records even at the age of 38, feels England skipper Andrew Strauss.
"It's the overall package he brings. He is technically fantastic but it's also his mental strength; the way he withstands pressure, how humble and dignified he is," Strauss said on Thursday on the eve of India's warm-up game against Somerset here.
"It is not just his runs but his desire and motivation to keep chasing down the records. He is an example that if you are still hungry, your power shouldn't decline as you get older," said Strauss.
"Among the examples out there, he is the best of them." Tendulkar will be chasing a record 100th international centuries when India and England kick off the first of the four-match Test series, at Lord's on July 21.
Strauss acknowledged the Indian team's consistency but backed his team to beat the world number one in front of the home crowd.
"They are playing hell lot of good cricket. They are tough nuts to crack, generally such men bring the best out of our players.
"In the last two years, we have found ourselves in good position and go on and win the Test. The level of test is going to rise over the next five weeks. It excites us for once you overcome the best, you become the best.
"It's a strong unit, ably led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but we back ourselves to beat anyone in home conditions and India is no exception to it," Strauss said.
Should England win the series 2-0 or 3-1, they would replace the visitors from the top of Test rankings. "It's important we look to win the series - it's always dangerous to look too far ahead. You do so by playing good cricket consistently. It might take six months or 12 years to reach the goal," he said.
According to Strauss, the important thing is how his team is known in the world.
"More than ratings, how you are acknowledged around the world, that's a far longer goal. You could become number one, but how you sustain it is important."
While sub-continental teams have struggled against short-pitched stuffs in the past, Strauss does not want to make the mistake of assuming that the Indians would be susceptible to the rising deliveries.
"All sub-continent teams have got better at it. They have been touring here quite often. I don't foresee any dramatic weakness there.
"We know Chris Tremlett did very well last time. He was younger and less developed. As we saw against both Australia and Sri Lanka, (the short-pitched bowling) if done consistently and accurately, will trouble most," he said. Strauss also clarified that he looked to play against the Indians not because he wanted to sort out his problems against Zaheer Khan.
"It would have been the first Test match for me to play without having played any match for three weeks. The other option was to play two games for Middlesex. I am happy that I'm getting an opportunity to score some runs against their bowlers."
Zaheer, incidentally, has dismissed Strauss on five occasions.