London: Andy Flower, the England coach, has said the successful blooding of a new generation of cricketers in the recent one-day series against India will provide an extra incentive for his senior players in the Test team to build on the high standards they produced in their rise to the top of the world rankings.
Speaking in the aftermath of England's impressive six-wicket win in the fifth and final ODI in Cardiff - a result which handed them a comprehensive 3-0 scoreline - Flower reflected that the international season "couldn't have gone much better". Nevertheless, he warned of the dangers of self-satisfaction creeping into the squad's mentality, and said any player who dared to rest on his laurels risked paying for that attitude with his place.
"I am delighted with the way the summer has gone, but at the risk of repeating ourselves we don't just want to put our feet up and say, 'Gee, it's a lovely little time we have had together'," said Flower. "If people aren't hungry enough then I don't think they will keep up with the side. They will drop out or be dropped out.
"The hunger is very important because it drives you to train harder, it drives you to get out of bed early in the morning to go training. It drives you to do the extra work and to do your skills practice. To keep the weight off your body. It drives you to be inquisitive about maximising your potential.
"If there is any self-satisfaction or too much contentment it can take you into a dangerous place. Our philosophy is to look forward and at the challenges ahead as opposed to those behind us. If you do look behind you, you are not planning properly for the future."
On a personal note, Flower was adamant that his own hunger for the England job matches that which he expects of his charges, not least having witnessed the sort of potential that has been displayed in the past fortnight.
"I am excited," he said. "I have only been doing this job two-and-a-half years and a lot has happened - it is amazing how quickly things happen. When I was given the job I said I wanted to make a difference and I still hope that can occur in the next couple of years. I am very proud of the way the guys are performing and it is interesting to see how the three captains [approach] pans out.
"I am sure most coaches are the same - coaches or captains - you shouldn't need motivation to play for your country. There are plenty of reasons to be motivated. It is more about channeling that energy and making sure it is organised and making sure, as far as possible, individuals are maximising their potential. I don't think it is so much motivation - it is more how we manage that.
"The side is going to vary along the way but English cricket has good resources - both financial and human. There are proud cricketing nations out there that are just as hungry as us so it is going to be a good battle. We can achieve very good things. That was a very young side we had out there - Swann I assume was the oldest - so that is a very young side to beat India."