London, May 26: There are quite a few who are not quite convinced about India's numero uno status in Test cricket and Ian Botham, the former English all-rounder is one among them. Beefy, as he was commonly known is of the opinion that India's no.1 ranking is largely due to victories at home and that they will be tested in their upcoming tour to England.
In his column for a newspaper, he has written, "India are currently ranked No. 1 in the world and they got there by playing some decent cricket, mainly at home. But when you consider that they have only beaten Bangladesh and New Zealand in their last six away trips, then you realise that they have got a bit to prove to people this summer."
Asserting that England are the best side in world cricket, Botham wrote, "The England Test team is the best in world cricket and they will prove it beyond doubt this summer. Forget the rankings designed by men with computers who believe that logarithms can tell us who is playing the best cricket more accurately than we can see with our eyes."
Botham further states, "England are unbeaten in seven series with six of them ending in victory for Andrew Strauss' side, and the pinnacle of these was the magnificent Ashes campaign last winter. That sealed it for me. Not just because it was the Ashes and winning them in Australia is notoriously difficult, but because they did it so comprehensively and in such style."
And added, "It takes something special to win Down Under, but it takes a rare gem of a side to do it with three innings defeats and leave the Australians floundering around looking for someone to blame before turning on each other."
Going ga-ga over the current English team's abilities, he wrote, "The real beauty of this England team is their age and their experience. They have nearly all played enough Test cricket to be considered old pros, yet most of them are still so young. Unlike the 2005 team that reached a peak and was then ravaged by retirements and injuries, this England side has plenty of cricket left in it. Only Strauss and Graeme Swann are over 30 and I can see the England skipper continuing to lead the side into the next Ashes series."
If all that wasn't enough, he tried to impress upon the fact that England can be as dominant as the West Indian side of the 80s and Australian side of late 90s and early noughties. Saying that the series against Sri Lanka and India will serve as the stepping stone for England's ascent to world domination, he wrote, "Between now and then, the target is sustained world supremacy. Outside the great Australian and West Indies teams, no other side has dominated the game and England have the chance to put themselves in that position."
Now that Botham has tried to intimidate the Indian side who are scheduled to visit England for a full tour, we would like to ask, Isn't it a bit too early to start the verbal battle? After all the tour is a good two months away and in between the English boys have to contend with the Sri Lankan lions.