Panesar: 'England has got ambitions to be No.1'

Former England spinner Monty Panesar believes England has the ambition of reaching the top of the Test rankings as it approaches a tough tour of the Indian subcontinent.

England

England missed out on a chance to become the No. 1 Test team in the Test series against Pakistan.

A determined England will do its utmost to move to the top of the ICC Test rankings by triumphing in the upcoming series against Bangladesh and India, according to Monty Panesar.

England has not scaled the summit since August 2012, though it missed out on a chance to regain that position following its series against current leader Pakistan last month. With a tour to Bangladesh preceding a showdown with former No.1 India, ex-England spinner Panesar predicts Alastair Cook's team will be motivated to earn back-to-back victories.

"Pakistan are No. 1 at the moment and I'm sure England, who did very well in South Africa [a 3-1 Test series win], will probably be determined to do well in the subcontinent because I'm sure they've got ambitions to become No. 1 again," Panesar told Omnisport at Cricket United's Charity Cricket Challenge.

"I think Bangladesh is a good stepping stone, they're probably the weaker team, then you play against India so it'll give them a chance to acclimatise to the subcontinent's conditions. Bangladesh are probably an easier team to play against and obviously India will be a harder proposition, but I think they've got the balance right."

'Unfinished business'

Panesar is set for a trip to Australia for rehab on a shoulder injury and hopes to make his return to competitive action by March.

"My shoulder feels a lot better now than it has throughout the season, so I can go to Australia and hopefully get that stronger, get my fitness back and then hopefully next year it's six months of good rehab, good strength and conditioning, and we can hopefully play some cricket next year," he said.

"I think it's going to be difficult for any county to take me on board if I'm not fully fit. I want to make a comeback, I feel there's unfinished business, but I can only do that if I'm fully fit. So I'll give myself six months to get my fitness back and hopefully I'll be able to sort it out."