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England have potential to be No. 1: Dravid

Source: PTI
October 01, 2005 21:21 IST
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England still have more to do to displace Australia as world cricket's top nation, Indian batsman Rahul Dravid said in Melbourne on Saturday.

Dravid, in the city to play for the World XI against Australia in three one-dayers and a six-day Test match this month, said England have to prove themselves against other teams before claiming to be number one.

Euphoria greeted England's 2-1 Ashes series win over Australia last month, raising hopes that they could go on to dominate world cricket.

"To displace Australia you've got to really play well and play well consistently all over the world, which is what Australia have done and have rightly earned the spot to be number one," Dravid told reporters.

Dravid said England have the potential to dethrone Australia at the top of the ICC rankings if they continue with its Ashes form.

"They have the squad, they've got a really good squad at the moment and they've got some good young players," he said.

"It will be interesting to see how they go in the (northern) winter in the subcontinent. That will be a good test for them.

"They've done well there -- last time they beat Pakistan," he said. "England have shown this summer that they have got the personnel."

Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff, also in Melbourne to play for the world XI, said Australia remained the best cricket team in the world.

"Playing against the best side in the world has tested myself as well so I'm looking forward to having three more one-day internationals and another Test match against them -- and hopefully a repeat performance," Flintoff said.

He said the World squad had bonded well after only a day together.

"It's been good, a good atmosphere at training and it feels like we've been together slightly longer than what we have been," Flintoff said.

Flintoff was struck while batting in the nets today against Pakistan's speedster Shoaib Akhtar.

"I got hit on the arm but it's fine. It happens. I've seen the physio and I've got a patch on the arm," Flintoff said.

Dravid said the Super Series would give the world team "an opportunity to reinforce what England have done in the summer".

"But having said that I think Australia will be very keen to come back.

"A lot of the boys in that team are not used to losing so we will be sure they'll come back very hard and really want to prove a point," he said.

Flintoff said he expected the world team to place a strong emphasis on tactics, an approach which contributed to Australia's Test series downfall.

"It's not just myself and Kevin (Pietersen) who have played against Australia," Flintoff said.

"Everyone else has as well and each one's got their own experiences of what they've done and how they've done against them.

"I'll be voicing what I think, probably along with the other lads."

Flintoff said England had carefully worked out a tactical program to defeat Australia in the Ashes series.

"During the series, something we talked about, we had plans for each batsman and each bowler as we faced them and I think that's probably one of the reasons why we did so well," he said.

"Whoever it was, we stuck to our plans and executed them well."

The first one-dayer takes place at Docklands stadium in Melbourne on Wednesday. 

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