England captain Joe Root says he “can certainly see” his players becoming the world’s number one Test team.
Root urged his teammates to finish their home summer with a win against Pakistan in the third Test at the Rose Bowl.
England lost their opening Test of their home season to West Indies, but followed that with two victories to claim the series, and then beat Pakistan in the first Test by a narrow three wickets.
The second Test at the same venue ended in a draw after persistent rain ruined the contest, and so there is still a job to do to complete the series win on Friday.
“We know we are not the finished article, we know we have challenges and hurdles to overcome, and things we need to get better at if we want to be the number one team in the world,” Root told reporters on Thursday.
“But I can certainly see this group of players going on to do that.
“We have got a great group of bowlers now that we feel cover a number of different surfaces and challenges wherever we go in the world. That is an exciting place to be.”
England’s bowlers have largely risen to the occasion this summer, but they have been less impressive with the bat, passing 320 only twice in the previous five Tests.
“With the competition that is there, people have to keep proving their worth in the team. That is not just the bowlers, but the batters as well. We need to make sure we are driving the standards up all the time,” Root added.
England will only decide on the morning of the Test whether to go with an all seam attack or select spinner Dom Bess, who has been used sparingly in the summer to date.
“We have not settled on an XI yet, it is so hard to tell with that wicket right now,” Root said.
“It has been mostly undercover for the last week, and with the sun finally out and a bit of wind, it could change drastically over the course of today.
“So we want to keep everything on the table and then make a strong call tomorrow.”