Only victory in Australia will make England best

Published: Thursday, October 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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London:England coach Duncan Fletcher dismisses suggestions that by beating Australia in this summer's Ashes Tour it puts them on top of the world.

"I still believe we've got to beat Australia in Australia," he told the Daily Mail.

That challenge is just 16 months away.

And he admits he deliberately smiled at Ricky Ponting when the Australia captain blew his top after he was run out in the fourth Test by Gary Pratt, a crack substitute fielder, who had been subbed on for a bowler.

Ponting says it was Fletcher's smile from the England team balcony after he was run out by Pratt that incensed him and led to him being fined.

But Fletcher says Ponting was already ranting and raving when he walked out onto the balcony after watching the replay on TV.

"I like to see how people react to things because it tells you a story," the Zimbabwe-born coach said.

"As he came towards me I didn't want to turn and walk inside. You shouldn't do that. I wanted to stand my ground. I looked at our players to see what they were doing and when I looked back at Ponting he was still going on. So I thought 'Just smile'. I could have said 'Shut your mouth' but I just smiled. It was a smile that said 'Come on, forget it.'

"Later I went and shook Ponting's hand. Didn't say anything, just shook his hand. It annoyed me when people tried to argue he had some kind of point, because he didn't."

Fletcher said he was looking forward to touring Pakistan next month to get away from the hullabaloo surrounding the Ashes triumph.

"If we were going anywhere else there would be distractions and people making calls on our time. At least in Pakistan we'll just get locked into serious cricket."

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