London, Aug 16 (IANS): Former England captain and legendary all-rounder Ian Botham said the feel good factor is back in English cricket and it is here to stay for a long while yet.
"England are No.1 for a reason, they have been magnificent now for more than two years and their success should run and run. They will never get bored - no one gets bored of winning. I don't want to hear how poor India have been or how world cricket is at a lower standard than ever before," Botham wrote in his column in The Mirror.
Botham said England have earned the right to be No.1 and they have done it by playing the best cricket.
"There was nothing poor about Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh chasing down 380-odd two and a half years ago. Nor was there anything poor about Dale Steyn & Co giving it everything they had just over a year ago. It is not about other's failings, it is about England's brilliance. And thanks to the best team in the world, I can walk in and out of grounds with my chin up and my chest out," said Botham.
"It might sound strange, but I was not always able to do that as a follower of this cricket team. So now I can, it is a great feeling. There were times when I would arrive at grounds all over the world to commentate and be given short shrift by my fellow pundits from rival countries. They would enjoy a bit of mickey-taking and old-fashioned banter because my team were being soundly beaten on a regular basis," he said.
Botham said that in past when he was commentating during matches involving England, he used to leave the ground from backdoor to avoid abuses from fans.
"Even though I hoped things would change, they did not for a long time. I'd have to leave grounds out of a back or side door to avoid abuse from the crowds - both English and opposition - as they vented their frustrations or laughed at another poor performance by our boys. But that has all changed and for the first time since the rankings began, we are officially the best Test team in the world," he said.
"I believe they have been on top for a while with the sort of cricket they played in Australia, and I don't need a table to tell me how good a team is in comparison to others, but now it is in black and white. There is no more debate to be had - they are the best. The only question to be asked now is how long will they stay at the top," said Botham.
Botham, however, feels that England will be on top for at least a few years.
"I have no doubt that it will be for at least a few years, if not for the sort of time enjoyed by the great West Indies and Australian sides of their eras. That type of record is a long way off and it will take some doing to get themselves into that category. But I think this England team are more than capable of doing it - and more importantly other teams think they just might as well," he said.