Strauss relishes Tendulkar, Pietersen battle
Sachin Tendulkar and Kevin Pietersen are poised for a heavyweight World Cup clash of superstars on Sunday when India and England go head-to-head.cricket Updated: Feb 26, 2011 15:26 IST
Sachin Tendulkar and Kevin Pietersen are poised for a heavyweight World Cup clash of superstars on Sunday when India and England go head-to-head.
Tendulkar is the world's leading scorer in both Test (14,692 runs) and one-day (17,657) cricket, while Pietersen is relishing his new role at the top of the order.
"He (Tendulkar) has been one of the mammoths of world cricket over the last two decades," said England captain Andrew Strauss.
"The fact he's been able to do it for so long and so consistently is a great testament to him and his preparation.
"There aren't many negative words you can say about the guy. He's an absolute legend. But at the moment our job is not to build up the Indian players, our job is to beat them."
Pietersen opened against the Netherlands and scored 39 as his team successfully chased a 293-run target.
"I think this is the sort of match that brings out the best in him (Pietersen). Opening the batting is giving him a fresh outlook on his one-day cricket and we hope he'll transfer all that into big runs," said Strauss.
"He's performed well in the sub-continent before and he obviously knows this wicket well, because he's played IPL (Indian Premier League) here. In the big matches and big tournaments, generally we see the best of Pietersen."
Pietersen has scored 3,556 runs in 111 one-day internationals with seven hundreds and 21 half-centuries.
"I don't think it's time to take the pressure off him. It's a World Cup and we all need to stand up and perform. He knows that as well as anyone else," added the England captain.
"We know what he can bring to our side when he does perform because he's a match-winning player and one that other sides fear. I'm very confident he's going to put in some telling performances over the course of this World Cup."
Strauss said that his team planned to gatecrash crowd favourites India's party by playing "smart" cricket in the Group B day-night clash.
"We'd love to spoil an India party here in Bangalore," said Strauss.
"It would be potentially a huge lift for us and would send out a pretty strong marker to other sides, but we've got to do it first, concentrate on the process of doing it."
England's last tour of India in 2008 ended in failure as they lost five successive one-dayers under Pietersen, but Strauss said his side had been playing good cricket of late.
"We've played well against them in England, but not in India. But we've evolved quite a lot as a side over the last 12 to 24 months and we just need to play good, smart cricket," said Strauss.
"Perhaps there's more pressure on India than us in this game. If we can play good, smart cricket and put them under pressure, we hope that pressure will come to the fore at some stage and allow us to get over the line."