KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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After signing a permanent contract extension as Team Director Andy Flower says England are aiming to become the number one Test side in the world.
Flower, who has been on a rolling deal since taking over in 2009, is preparing his England side to take on Sri Lanka and current number one team India in 2011.
Both sides play a Test and One Day International at Lord’s, with a limited number of tickets for the Sri Lanka Test still available.
Flower took over as interim coach for the tour of the West Indies in 2009 where England were beaten 1-0 in the Test series.
Since then though England have risen from sixth to third in the world Test rankings – an upward trend Flower is keen to see continued.
"We have made no secret of our determination to become the No. 1 side in the world and challenge for global titles and I feel we have been making steady progress." said Flower.
"I firmly believe we have the talent amongst the playing squad and management team to help us realise our ambitions and am looking forward to testing ourselves against quality opposition this summer and beyond."
Capturing Flower, 43, on a long term contract is a major coup for the ECB.
The former Zimbabwe captain has built a formidable reputation in the international game after leading England to two successive Ashes wins and a ICC World Twenty20 victory.
He was reportedly identified by ICC World Champions India as a preferred choice to replace Gary Kirsten.
The job eventually went to ex-England Coach and Flower's fellow Zimbabwean Duncan Fletcher.
England’s Team Managing Director Hugh Morris expressed his delight at securing Fletcher on a permanent deal and reiterated England’s desire to become the world’s number one side.
"Andy's outstanding leadership, commitment, and his open and honest approach have been key factors in the success the England squad has enjoyed over the last two years. said the former Glamorgan and England opening batsman.
"I have no doubt that under his direction we will continue to see England improve as we strive to become the No. 1 side in the world in all formats of the game."