Pietersen pledges full focus
Kevin Pietersen insists England will not become complacent after they secured top spot in the ICC Test rankings with a crushing victory over India in the third npower Test at Edgbaston.
The tourists were bundled out for 244 today to give Andrew Strauss’ side an innings-and-242-run triumph.
England will now take over from their opponents as the number-one ranked side in the longest form of the game, regardless of the result in the final match of the series - at the Kia Oval - next week.
However, Pietersen told Sky Sports 1: “It’s a great feeling, but something we’ve got to calm down about.
“We’ve got a real tough winter ahead, a tough Test match next week.
“We’ve got to enjoy ourselves but we’ve got to go hunting in the winter. We’ve got to do everything to keep ourselves there.
“The only way to keep ourselves there is to keep doing what we’ve been doing for the last two years.
“What we’ve got is very special. There’s no way we’re going to rest on our laurels. We want to go out and hammer India again. We want to win this series 4-0.”
He added: “It’s a case of making sure we stay grounded and keep striving to improve.
“We’ve got great backroom staff and a great leader in Strauss and (Andy) Flower at the top and a great group of guys - not just the 11 in the side but other guys who are injured who can easily come back into the side.
“We keep each other grounded and just strive to win for England.”
Team-mate Ian Bell recalled England’s dismal collapse to 51 all out against West Indies in Jamaica in February 2009 as pivotal in the team’s turnaround.
“I had to have a good look at myself, and the team did as well,” he said. “I had a winter there where I had to work hard on physical and mental issues and go right back to scratch.
“I look back and it was a massive turning point in my career and the team’s career.”
On the comprehensive victory over India which took England top of the world Test rankings, he added: “This is huge. It’s something we’ve set out for a long time to achieve and we’ve had to play consistent cricket for a long time now.
“Winning the Ashes in Australia was the biggest thing in my career and to do this means we’ve been consistent for a long period of time, which is fantastic.
“We seem to do the basics really well - that’s something from the batting side that Graham Gooch is always pushing our way. We don’t get too far ahead of ourselves - that’s something that’s a strength of ours. We work really well as a good unit.”
Off-spinner Graeme Swann and paceman James Anderson admitted the series had gone more smoothly than even they had planned.
Swann said: “Coming in, everyone said ‘you’ve got to win by two clear games’ - I don’t think anyone gave us that much hope of actually being able to do it.
“We had the belief in our changing room that we could do it. It’s gone better than planned, if we’re perfectly honest. It’d be a real shame if we let that down by not winning at The Oval.
“We were in a similar position in the Ashes when we went to Sydney having already won the Ashes, and we put in our best performance of the whole trip there so hopefully we can do the same next week.”
Lancashire seamer Anderson said: “It’s a nice feeling. To be honest, although becoming number one in the world has been the over-riding goal, to have won these three Test matches by the margin we have done I think is a phenomenal achievement.
“Everyone has played fantastically well. Everyone has played their part in this and the previous series.”