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Miller: England have what it takes

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Geoff Miller

National selector Geoff Miller told ecb.co.uk: “It was not so long ago that the public were thrilled to bits when we won a Test match."

National selector Geoff Miller is convinced England can usurp India as the best Test team in the world ahead of the two sides’ four-match npower series.

Following their 1-0 series victory over Sri Lanka in the five-day format, England will overhaul the number one ranked Test side this summer if they can triumph by two clear matches.

Miller believes India will pose a stern examination of their credentials but he is confident Andrew Strauss’ side will be victorious ahead of the first Test at Lord’s, which gets under way on Thursday.

Miller told ecb.co.uk: “We’ve proved that we’re a very, very good side, a very difficult side to beat and can try to win and hopefully do win from many situations.

“We’re happy to be in the position we are, quietly confident, just get on with our job, work hard and do the job that is required and 99% of the time, we’re actually doing that.

“We’re not number one in the world at this moment in time, we’ve still got a way to go but I sincerely think we’re going in the right direction.

“They’ll (India) pose a test, that is for sure. They’re number one in the world at the moment and they won’t want to be giving up that mantle too quickly but we’ll be ready.”

Strauss has only tasted defeat in a Test series as captain once - his first in charge against the West Indies in 2009 - and with two successful Ashes campaigns, the left-hander will go down as one of England’s finest captains ever.

Miller believes the backbone of the team's success has been a stable foundation and added that plenty of hard work is done behind the scenes to make sure England are competitive in every match they play.

“It was not so long ago that the public were thrilled to bits when we won a Test match. But now, the public are wondering why we’re not winning Test matches, it’s a complete change around in a matter of two years," he said.

Alastair Cook

Miller is delighted that Alastair Cook has repaid the faith shown in him last year after the left-hander went through a lean spell with the bat

“It’s been worked on, it’s not just happened accidentally, there’s been a lot of effort and a lot of work put in all areas.

“That’s with the team at the top, the Lions as well and the counties too. There’s a very strong bond now between the playing side of the counties and the England side so that relationship is starting to work simply because we need them and they need us and it’s starting to come to fruition.

"You pick players because you hope they’re international quality but it’s about a unit in the changing room and it’s not always going to be the case where every player hits his straps every game.

"Every now and then, someone’s going to be failing but the others take control of it and that’s happened for the last couple of years or so.

"Different people have been performing in different Test matches, that shows a strong unit and that’s why we are where we are."

Alastair Cook has been in magnificent form in both the Test and one-day arena, where he made a winning start as England’s permanent captain in the recently completed NatWest Series against Sri Lanka.

It was not so long ago that the opener, who excelled against Australia in the Ashes over the winter, saw his place come under scrutiny shortly after a run of poor scores and Miller believes the team are now benefiting from the faith shown in him.

He added: “We showed confidence in Alastair and we knew what his credentials were, we knew what his technical ability and strength of character were. He was having a bad time and we just showed confidence in him and he rewarded that.”

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