London: England coach Andy Flower says they are not "overconfident" about becoming the number one Test side and their focus remains on winning the "vitally important" series against India, beginning with the first Test at Lord`s Thursday.
Flower is bemused with people who make a "big deal" of English players talking on getting to the top of the rankings. For the record, third-ranked England will dislodge India from the pinnacle if they win the upcoming four-match series by a margin of two Tests.
"People are amazed that we talk about being the No.1 side in the world. People make a big thing of it - especially commentators and ex-players," Flower was quoted as saying by a daily.
"When they (former players) played for England, did they not want to be the best side in the world? Doesn`t every Test team want that goal? Surely. Isn’t it very obvious and natural? I find it strange that it is seen as overconfidence or an outlandish goal. Surely that is the goal you should have? Otherwise aren`t you selling yourself and your country short?"
Many English players have already expressed confidence of beating India in the build-up to the high profile series that begins with the historic 2000th Test in international cricket and the 100th between the two sides.
Flower, however, stresses the importance of taking steady strides on the way to the top.
"We need to get to No.2 first. We will do that if we win this series - but just beating India doesn`t guarantee moving us into the top slot. But, on the eve of this series, I can`t help but concentrate on this match and on the first day. That is the important focus."
The former Zimbabwe captain reflects on his time so far with the England team and what he would like his team to achieve in the future.
"It has gone very well over the last two years and we have had really good results. But I am very keen for it not just to be two good years."
"I really don`t want this to sound cliched but we want to establish an England team culture that is very strong and stands the test of time. That is achievable if it is run well."
On England dominating Test cricket like the great side of West Indies and Australia in the past, Flower says: "It is definitely not impossible (to reach that level) but we have got a long way to go before we could even dream of such dominance. This (India) series is vitally important."