Lancashire’s Jimmy Anderson fears his return to top of the world may be short-lived – but is convinced England’s has the potential to be much longer.
Anderson reclaimed the International Cricket Council’s No.1 ranking for bowlers, leapfrogging India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, as England won the third Test against Pakistan by 141 runs.
If the hosts prevail again at The Oval – a game which started today – to seal the series 3-1, they too may be in line to go top of the rankings again, in their case for the first time since 2012.
Unlike his own status, which he anticipates may fluctuate, Anderson senses Alastair Cook’s team can remain long-term world-beaters.
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker rates the current line-up a better bet for longevity than Andrew Strauss’ 2011 table-toppers.
“I think our team at the moment is better equipped to get to No.1 and stay there,” said Anderson.
“We are a more talented side.
“I think we are more mentally tough. I think we showed what character we’ve got last week, coming from 100 runs behind and managing to win.”
He senses his own chances of staying above Ashwin et al – which will be sorely tested in a five-Test series on his Indian rival’s home patch before Christmas – may be transient.
“I think, with a lot of cricket going on, it might not last that long, so I’ll enjoy it while I can,” he said.
Pakistan will still have a say in England’s impending status, and their coach Mickey Arthur is confident the tourists are ready to battle back this week.
He was notably critical of his own team after England levelled the series at Old Trafford last month, but believes they performed with more credit at Edgbaston.
“I do think we competed exceptionally well, certainly through three-and-a-half days,” he said.
“I certainly did not feel we ever rolled over there.”