Southampton: England's hard-earned test series wins over the summer with a blend of youth and experience show the side's drive to be the number one team in the world, according to captain Joe Root.
England beat the West Indies 2-1 and Pakistan 1-0 in a rain-hit series which, coupled with their success in South Africa at the start of the year, continue an upward trajectory with new players in the team.
"To have won both series is a great achievement for the group," Root told reporters.
"Young guys have continued to keep improving and show their worth within the squad, while we have also seen some special individual performances from senior players, who showed they can keep driving this team forward." Opener Dom Sibley, Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley are three young batsmen who have shown their potential, the latter scoring an eye-catching 267 against Pakistan in Tuesday's drawn test that is the tenth highest score by an Englishman ever.
Veteran pace bowler James Anderson reached 600 test wickets in the same game and said afterwards he now has 700 in his sights, while 34-year-old Stuart Broad's 29 wickets in the two series at an average of 13.41 suggest he has plenty more to give.
Root believes that attitude off the pitch, as well as skill on it, will be a major factor in how this side develops over the next few years.
"The thing I'm excited about is the environment we have in the dressing room. The attitude of the guys about how they want to keep improving and learning about the game, even the senior players.
"I think that is what gives a great opportunity to get to that number one spot down the line.
England are uncertain of their next test assignment due to the COVID-19 pandemic as they head into home limited overs series with Pakistan and Australia, and Root admits that will create a delicate balancing act for their five-day specialists.
"It's going to be important that whenever it is we get the opportunity to play (tests) again, we have some form of cricket before that. We just have to wait and see."