ENGLAND coach Andy Flower has drawn up a new set of goals that he believes his side must achieve if they are to stand comparison with some of the greatest of all time.
Another crushing victory over India on Saturday elevated England to No1 in the international Test rankings for the first time in their history.
It also prompted further comparisons between Flower’s line-up and other dominant teams of recent generations, such as the West Indies and Australia.
But Flower insists those plaudits are premature and has set his side the challenge of winning upcoming series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the 2013 World Test Championship and the 50-over World Cup in 2015.
“I don’t think we can compare ourselves to those sides. They dominated world cricket for lengthy periods. We have been playing well for a little while now, but only for a short time in cricketing history terms,” he said.
“We are going to have to reset our goals, and I’d like to do that not only with the captain and the captains but with the team.
“This winter we go to play against two countries that, the last time England toured, we lost. We want to go away and play Pakistan and Sri Lanka away from home and win those series.
“We’ve also got the World Test Championship for the first time in 2013, and that’s in our own country. That is certainly something we are striving for.”
Fast bowler James Anderson, who devastated India’s celebrated top order as England took a 3-0 series lead at Edgbaston, underlined the scale of Flower’s expectations.
“Every nation wants to be No1 in all forms of the game but it very rarely happens that way,” he said. “We have conquered one step and we are the best Test nation in the world at the moment. Now we can push everything else forward hopefully.”
WHAT NOW? | ENGLAND’S DATES
Aug 2011 One more Test against India plus an ODI in Ireland
Aug-Sep 2011 One T20 and five ODIs against India followed by two T20s at home to West Indies
Oct 2011 Five ODIs and a T20 in India
Feb-Mar 2012 Three Tests, four ODIs and three T20 matches against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Mar-Apr 2012 Two Tests in Sri Lanka
May-Jun 2012 Three Tests, three ODIs and one T20 at home to West Indies
Jun-Jul 2012 Five ODIs at home to Australia
Aug 2012 Three Tests, five ODIs and three T20s at home to South Africa
Sep 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka
Nov 2012-Jan 2013 Four Tests, seven ODIs and one T20 in India