England will topple ageing Indians from No 1 spot

Updated: Jan 01, 2011, 14:16 PM IST

Former England captain Michael Vaughan says India are an ageing side and expects his country to succeed Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s men as the number one Test side in the world.

Vaughan said simultaneous retirements of established players who are already in their mid thirties, would leave a void in teams like India, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and that would pave the way for England to claim the top spot in the longer version of the game.

"India are an ageing side. VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid will go soon. Zaheer Khan will not bowl forever and has suffered injuries. He missed the first Test of their series in South Africa and they lost," Vaughan said.

"There is no gulf in class between No.3 in the world and No.1, which was the case when Australia were far better than anyone else," he added.

Even the South Africans would struggle to match England in terms of talent and experience in the near future, according to Vaughan.

"How much have South Africa got in reserve if Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn get injured or what happens when Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis retire," Vaughan wrote in his column for the `Daily Telegraph`.

Talking about Kumar Sangakkara`s side, the former England skipper said, "Sri Lanka have lost Muttiah Muralitharan, who put them in the top bracket of teams. They will still score a lot of runs but if you cannot take 20 wickets it is difficult over a long period to win series."

"If you look at England then you can see Andrew Strauss going on for three or four years. The team can stay together for a long time and there is no great side for them to be fearful of," he reasoned.

"We have seen in this series that when Stuart Broad missed out Chris Tremlett came in and performed. The same for Steven Finn and Tim Bresnan. Ajmal Shahzad is waiting in the wings, Monty Panesar is in reserve and Adil Rashid will probably be ready in a year`s time. Eoin Morgan is waiting patiently, hoping he will get a chance.

"England`s attack would have two spinners (an offie and leggie) and three seamers. Imagine Rashid, Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Tremlett. What a unit that could be," he wrote.

Vaughan also said that the victory in the Melbourne Test, which helped England retain the Ashes, was on expected lines. The visitors were also helped by Australia`s decline in the recent past.

"Remember Australia are only the fifth-ranked team in the world. The Ashes is massive and means a lot to people back home, but in reality England have only beaten a middle-ranked team.

"That is not to knock their achievement. They have out-planned, bowled, and fielded Australia and shown their true potential. The best teams beat opposition the standard of this Australian side," Vaughan said.