Graeme Swann insists England’s players do not believe they are a “dominant force” in world cricket ahead of this year’s Ashes series.
England, who sit third behind India and South Africa in the Test rankings, welcome Darren Lehmann’s Australia to Trent Bridge for Wednesday’s first Test with a view to extending their grip on the urn for another two years, having retained it in Australia following home glory in 2009.
England became the best Test nation in the world in August 2011 following a Test series victory over India, but an Ashes victory would be key if they are to hold any hope of replacing South Africa at the top this year.
Northampton-born spinner Swann played a key role in England’s recent Ashes victories - claiming the best individual bowling figures of the 2009 series - but he will not take anything for granted this time around.
He said: “I don’t think we see ourselves as a dominant force.
“We climbed up to number one in the world, which was a feat we aimed to do and we were pleased with, but we didn’t stay there for long so we’re continually aiming to improve.
“We want to get back up there and until we are we won’t see ourselves as a dominant force.
“I’m sure there’s 11 players in our dressing room and 11 in theirs that have been looking forward to this for a very long time.
“I’ve just been at Trent Bridge, the best Test cricket ground in England, soaking up the sunshine and the pre-Ashes atmosphere is very exciting.”
Swann later managed to simultaneously initiate the mind games with Australia’s batsmen, while promising not to rely too heavily on sledging to rattle the opposition.
“Any altercations we’ve had in the past are firmly in the past,” he added.
“You don’t go out there looking to pick a fight or cause a rumpus, you go out there desperately hoping to do well yourself.
“I think any tetchiness may come about because of hot weather or frustrated bowlers, and hopefully that will be on the Australian side as we come in for tea time on day one with 300 for nought.”