Only way is up for world’s top team – Flower

England may still be top of the world in Test cricket – but after their 10-wicket hammering against Pakistan, Andy Flower believes the only way is up for his team.

On their ascent to No 1in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings, England have recovered impressively several times from what captain Andrew Strauss last night termed “aberrations”.

Flower yesterday echoed Strauss’ straight talking, agreeing too that there should not and must not be any panic from England after one – albeit unexpected and landslide – defeat.

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Like the captain too, England’s coach will not be getting in the batsmen’s ears about their obvious failings against Saeed Ajmal’s off-spin in particular.

He is well aware they know as well as he that they did not do themselves, or their ICC seeding, the remotest justice in the first Test.

Flower will stick therefore not to lectures about technique but the broader base of man-management, which has served England’s generation of world-beating talent so well over the past three years.

“One of our principles is to continually improve – and we can certainly improve on this performance,” he said.

“We all know that it was the batting that let us down in this Test.

“But our batsmen have a pretty good record against spin, so I don’t think it’s a matter of reinventing the wheel. Of course, we will try to learn from it.

“But they all have their individual strengths, and they have to focus on those – and most of our batsmen will recognise that they under-performed for various reasons in this Test match.”

There were some embarrassing examples of poor shot selection from England’s world-class batsmen at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, among them Strauss’ first-innings dismissal to Ajmal and Kevin Pietersen’s in the second to seamer Umar Gul. There have been mutterings about Strauss’ form in the longer term too.

He is without a century since Brisbane more than a year ago, but has made four 50s in a relatively light Test match schedule since then.

“He’s a pretty calm bloke, and I wouldn’t say he’s in poor form at all,” said Flower of the captain.

“He looks very composed and compact at the crease.

“He got out in the first innings to a shot he wouldn’t want to repeat, and he was unlucky in the second innings - so that’s how it goes sometimes.

“He will come back.”