England cricket captain Alastair Cook says becoming the top-ranked team in the world ahead of schedule would be an "irrelevance". The record-breaking captain, who led his side to a dramatic victory in the third Test match against Pakistan at Edgbaston yesterday (7 August), is aware his side now have the chance of regaining the number-one ranking by the end of the summer.
To do so, Cook's side must win this week's final Test against Pakistan at the Kia Oval, and hope India fail to win both of their final two against West Indies in the Caribbean. However, Cook – who was part of the last England team to top the standings in 2011 – is refusing to get carried away by their rise in the world rankings, which has been their ambition since the appointment of coach Trevor Bayliss.
"If we do become number one after the Oval that is fantastic, but I wouldn't say we're anywhere near our potential," Cook said after England's 141-run win in Birmingham, according to The Independent. "If that happens it's a bit of an irrelevance for me because this side's still got so much further to go. If it happens that's probably because of other results."
England fell 1-0 behind in the series against Pakistan when they capitulated to the leg-spin of Yasir Shah at Lord's. Since then, however, they have produced some eye-catching cricket to establish a 2-1 lead – and Cook admitted their win at Edgbaston was one of the most satisfying of his decade-long England career.
The hosts conceded a 103-run first-innings deficit, but hauled themselves back into the match in fine style and carved out an against-the-odds victory on the final day. "It's up there [with my best-ever wins]," Cook said. "Yes, we were up against it but we were never that far out of it. It was just pleasing because I don't think that many people thought we would win.
"This is the first one in a while we've been behind and fought back. It was great character from the guys to come back like we did."
Meanwhile, under-pressure batsman James Vince has been declared fit for the final Test of the four-match series, despite dislocating a finger in the final session at Edgbaston. The game at the Kia Oval starts in London on Thursday (11 August).