Manchester: England one-day captain Alastair Cook wants his side to cash in on their 4-0 series rout of Australia and become a major force in the 50-over game. England, who've now won 10 successive one-day internationals, climbed to third in the world rankings on Tuesday and would have replaced Australia at number one had they completed a clean sweep of a five-match series where last week's clash at Edgbaston was washed out.
But they finished with a flourish, beating their arch-rivals by seven wickets under the Duckworth/Lewis in a rain-reduced match at Old Trafford after Cook (58) and Essex team-mate Ravi Bopara (52 no) helped chase down a revised target of 138 after Australia had been restricted to 145 for seven in 32 overs. England, however, have never won a major 50-over tournament and the last of their three losing World Cup final appearances was back in 1992. It's a record they'd dearly love to improve upon when the rest of the world's leading nations travel to England for the Champions Trophy next year, a staging post en route to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
In the meantime, England need to keep winning in order to ensure they enjoy the same supremacy in the 50-over standings as they do in topping the International Cricket Council rankings in the Test and Twenty20 formats. "We hope we're heading in the right direction," said Cook. "Clearly we are, with the group of players we've got.
The England ODI captain wants the Three Lions to keep on improving in the format.
"If we want to win tournaments, we have to be playing as well as we are now in the week when we enter those tournaments," the opening batsman added. "That will be the aim. We're desperate to keep building on this, expanding our skills so that we get better as a side.
"Nevertheless, Cook was elated by his team's latest achievement.
"It feels good, great to win the series," he said. "It's been a brilliant effort from the lads.
"We've never let up, throughout the four games we've played. We've always been at Australia, and always tried to put them under some pressure.
"Everyone who plays against Australia knows how competitive they are and always will be."
Ian Bell ended the series as England's top run-scorer, with 189 at an average of nearly 48, having replaced Kevin Pietersen as Cook's opening partner after the South Africa-born batsman's shock limited-overs retirement last month. But a typically modest Bell paid tribute to England's attack. "Our bowling has been absolutely unbelievable these last two series, so we haven't actually had to chase too many big scores," he said.
"It's taken a bit to get through those two new balls, and then really cash in," Bell added. "I've really enjoyed it, and I think we've done pretty well as an opening partnership.
"We complement each other, and I've enjoyed that partnership as much as scoring runs myself."