London: He was out of touch against Sri Lanka but England captain Andrew Strauss is hoping to lead from the front against world number one India in the four-match Test series starting on July 21.
Strauss retired from limited-overs cricket after the World Cup earlier this year and has had just one LV County Championship outing for Middlesex since England sealed a 1-0 Test series win over Sri Lanka last month.
The left-handed opener contributed only 27 runs in four innings against Sri Lanka in the three Tests and was then dismissed for two in Middlesex`s rain-ruined draw against Gloucestershire.
In an effort to regain form ahead of the much-anticipated showdown with India, Strauss will play as a "guest" for Somerset in their three-day tour game at Taunton from July 15-17.
"I`m chomping at the bit to get out there. I`ve had a bit of time off and have spent a lot more time than I would normally do preparing for this series. In that sense it`s been a good thing," Strauss said.
"I`m eager to get out there again, wear the tracksuit, practice well. It is very important that we start the series well. So my message to the players is going to be important and our preparation is going to be very important," he told Sky Sports.
"Above all it is an exciting time, an exciting second half of the summer and one where we can take some really big strides forward as well," he said.
The series opener takes place at Lord`s from July 21-25.
Strauss was all praise for new England ODI captain Alastair Cook who led the side to a 3-2 ODI series victory over Sri Lanka.
"When you start off as captain you are under the spotlight. Can you handle all the demands of captaincy alongside your own batting? And because Alastair had just come into the side, there was even more pressure on him.”
"He responded in the way that we all thought he would because he has done it so many times in the past. He batted outstandingly well, captained outstandingly well and he led us to a series victory. It`s a great start for him, I`m delighted for him and I think we are all excited about moving onto the Test series now," said Strauss.
Cook scored 298 runs in the ODI series against Sri Lanka to silence the critics who believed his batting style was unsuited to the one-day game.