Flower raises bar for English despite No 1 status
Published 15/08/2011 | 05:00
Andy Flower is already plotting to help England make the most of Andrew Strauss' outstanding leadership and stay well ahead of the rest of world cricket.
The England coach described captain Strauss as a "special man" as he assessed the factors which have helped their team rise to the top of the International Cricket Council rankings.
A winter of Asian challenges lies ahead for England, following the small matter of next week's fourth and final Test of a series they have already won 3-0 against former world No 1 team India. That scoreline, and England's consequent inauguration as the best Test team on the planet, was confirmed by the Saturday's innings-and-242-run victory at Edgbaston.
Less than 24 hours later, after a night of appropriate celebration in Birmingham and yesterday morning's announcement of an unchanged squad for the Oval, Flower is turning his attention to further self-improvement.
Asked first about what he and Strauss have done to put right a team which two and a half years ago was languishing near the bottom of that ICC table, he chose instead to bring his assessment into the present.
Flower said: "What is right about this side at the moment is it's got an outstanding leader in Strauss; he really is a special man. The players, after being asked to embrace responsibility, have delivered.
"What Strauss and I don't want to do is (just) hang on to the No 1 status.
"It would be a really dangerous position to be in if we weren't trying to constantly improve ourselves. Now we are ranked No 1, people will be very hungry to knock us off that perch."