England have experienced a winter of lesson-learning but ended their Tour of the sub-continent still sitting top of the ICC World Test rankings and one national cricketing legend has predicted Andrew Strauss’ team to retain that position for some time to come.
They reached the top of the world Test order with a 4-0 whitewash of India last summer, coming on the back of series wins over Australia and Sri Lanka, but they were humbled during the winter.
It started with a 3-0 Test defeat to Pakistan before England regained some confidence by winning the second game – the final one of the tour – to snatch a 1-1 series draw with Sri Lanka as the top order batsman finally came good after a struggling winter.
Next up for England is two home series against the West Indies and South Africa before they return to the sub-continent to face India in the closing months of 2012, however Sir Ian Botham reckons the winter disappointments are “part of a learning curve” and Andy Flower’s side will come out of it stronger.
The England cricket legend admits there is “a lot of cricket” over the coming years and too much is probably being made of the series with India later this year, with Sir Ian predicting England to hold onto their ICC Test number one spot for the foreseeable future.
“England have got a busy schedule with West Indies, South Africa, India, New Zealand on the horizon,” he said.
“But they are still number one and I think they are going to stay at number one for quite a while now.”
The first match in a three-Test series with the West Indies starts at Lord’s on Thursday May 17th, with matches following at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston over the following three weeks. Cricket odds are tight and, as such, punters could bet better advised to bet on IPL.