England are now cricket kings of the world
Legendary allrounder Ian Botham considers the current English team as "cricket kings of the world" and says he can foresee England displacing India from the number one spot during the four-Test series and ushering in a new era of dominance.
"There is little doubt that the current English team are now cricket kings of the world," wrote Ian Botham, in his column in `Daily Mirror`.
"What we saw at Lord`s was the sort of performance you would expect from the best team on the planet and there will be more to come before this series is over.”
"At some point, England will take the No.1 title from India officially and then an era of dominance should follow, because we are well ahead of the pack. Every department is covered and without a weak link," he added.
England beat India by 196 runs in the opening Test of the four-match series, putting up a clinical performance against their depleted opponents, who were a bowler short after Zaheer Khan`s hamstring injury.
And Botham feels that India are hoping against hope to beat the strong English side in their home conditions with a depleted unit.
"How can India hope to beat us, especially with their injury worries?," asked the 55-year-old.
"And as good as some of India`s players have been over many years, I don`t see how they can get back into this series against a side as confident as England. And they will get better, because there is a hunger in the dressing room to search for that bit extra."
The second Test of the series is to be played at Trent Bridge from Friday and the legendary all-rounder warns India of some fierce bowling from the hosts.
"England will have two bowlers on home turf, while a third -- Jimmy Anderson -- never leaves without a five-for in his back pocket. And judging by the way he is bowling at the moment, India should be happy if all he takes is five wickets," Botham said.
"The great thing about this England team is that they are all peaking together and dovetail like the best teams do."
Botham also praised Kevin Pietersen for his unbeaten 202 innings at Lord`s.
"In terms of the way it started when things weren`t easy and then ensuring he was still there and able to cash in after he had made his first hundred. That is what Test match batting should be about," the former cricketer said.
"Matt Prior performed magnificently again. We know his batting ability is as good as any Test middle order batsman, but his glovework was in the top bracket too."
Botham also confessed that Stuart Board had silenced his critics with seven wickets from two innings in the first Test but said he stood by his words.
"On an unhelpful wicket the bowlers hunted as a pack and I have to doff my cap to Stuart Broad, who took all the criticism that came his way then hit back in the best possible way with wickets.”
"I was one of those calling for him to be dropped before the game and I stand by those words because the Broad we saw at Lord`s was not the one we had been watching earlier.”
"I hope he pushes on from here and doesn`t let it be his only performance of the series. He also showed maturity in the way he handled his lbw knock-backs, although it is ridiculous that the DRS is not being used," he said.
Criticising Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) for not using the full Decision Review System in the series, Botham said, "It is time India accepted it and realise that the game is not here just for them. Everybody wants the full DRS."