England captain Andrew Strauss believes that his team have been the best in the world for the last two years and have the weapons to topple India from the top of the Test rankings.
India are currently number one in the ICC's Test Championship table and England third.
But England will leapfrog the Indians at the top of the rankings if they win the upcoming four-match series between the countries, which starts at Lord's here on Thursday, by two clear Tests.
"Our cricket over the last two years, I don't think there's been a side who has been better than us," Strauss told reporters at Lord's, his Middlesex home ground, on Wednesday.
"We've won seven out of eight series (including an Ashes triumph in Australia) and the other has been drawn (away to South Africa), but this is a new challenge for us.
"Our ultimate goal in the long term is not just to be the side who is number one in the rankings but the side everyone agrees is the best side in the world.
"That's still a long-term goal regardless of whether we win or lose this series," the opening batsman added ahead of what will be the 2,000th Test ever played and the 100th between England and India.
And he insisted he was not taking lightly an India side who under captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni have shed their reputation as a 'soft touch' away from the sub-continent.
"You don't become the number one side without being able to play away from home as well and that's probably the greatest improvement they've made.
"They've been far more consistent away from home and have a lot of experienced batsmen who have played all over the world.
"We understand the extent of the challenge, it won't be easy, but I think in our home conditions we back ourselves to beat anyone.
Strauss prepared for the series by guesting for Somerset against India in the tourists lone warm-up match, scoring 78 and 109 not out in a drawn three-day match.
"As far as that three-day event went it couldn't have gone any better for me personally. I said before the game, though, it doesn't have a huge relevance over what will happen in this Test and I still stand by that," Strauss said.
"It's a case of me starting again from ball one."
"We have a great opportunity to play some really good cricket and hopefully pull off something special," Strauss said of a series that sees England up against former coach Duncan Fletcher, now in charge of India.
England would appear to have just the one selection headache with the fit-again Tim Bresnan challenging fellow seamer Stuart Broad for a place in a four-man attack featuring off-spinner Graeme Swann.
"No-one has a God-given right to play in the XI," Strauss said. "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."