LONDON, (Reuters) – England have already set new goals after reaching the coveted number one spot in the world rankings at the expense of India who face an unenviable task in the fourth test starting today.
India, soundly thrashed in the first three tests, have only pride to play for in a match which a capacity crowd at the Oval will use to acclaim their heroes.
“I always think it is very dangerous to hold on to what you have got,” reflected coach Andy Flower after his team destroyed India in the third test at Edgbaston.
“We used that goal, to be number one, as a motivational tool that drove us in training and in matches. Now that we have achieved that, what (captain Andrew) Strauss and I don’t want to do is just hang on.
“That’s not a very exciting way to go about our business. We are going to have to reset out goals,”
Flower and Strauss have taken England from the depths of a series defeat in West Indies at the start of 2009 to successive Ashes victories followed by a ruthless demolition of World Cup champions India.
Their concentration on short-term goals, a disciplined work ethic and rigorous attention to detail has propelled England to the top of the rankings table and Flower is determined that his men do not rest of their hard-won laurels.
“Now we are ranked number one people will be very hungry to knock us off that perch, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
“It is one thing being good for a short period of time but having a side that delivers some special results and has some special times together that they will remember for the rest of their lives, that will be a much better thing to look back on than a few victories here and there.
“This winter we go to play against two countries that the last time England toured, we lost. We want to go and play Pakistan and Sri Lanka away from home and win those series.
“Ignoring the ranking, those series will have their own importance.