James Anderson believes this England team is more talented than the side that reached No. 1 in the Test rankings in 2011 and has the potential to stay at the pinnacle for longer.

England can reclaim the top spot if they win the final Test against Pakistan at The Oval if India do not go on to overcome West Indies 3-0. Anderson admitted the rise up the rankings had come ahead of expectation for the team, and even if they do not secure No. 1 in the short term the age of many players in the side means the is scope for them to dominate for years ahead.

"I think what that team in 2011 had was a number of players in the top ten in the rankings so if they were in form generally the team will do pretty well," Anderson said. "We've got that at the moment. I think our team at the moment is better equipped to get to No.1 and stay there.

"We are a more talented side, I think we are more mentally tough, I think we showed what character we've got this week coming from 100 runs behind at Edgbaston and managed to win. We've got plenty of characters in the team as well.

"If we are brutally honest it would be a bit soon for the team, we are still developing, there is still inconsistency and we have plenty of improving to do. It would be nice if we do go to No. 1, but at the same time we know we have plenty of time on our hands to develop."

At 34, Anderson - who was a key part of the 2011 side - is now back as the No.1 bowler in the world and is the most senior figure in a team in which only Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook are also over 30.

It is the clutch of 20-somethings, the players that Cook and Trevor Bayliss pinpointed as showing greater maturity during the Edgbaston fightback, plus Ben Stokes who remains sidelined, that gives Anderson the belief that reaching the summit will happen, and when it does the stay will not be fleeting.

When England reached the top in 2011 with victory over India at Edgbaston - during a 4-0 whitewash - things quickly started to unravel, on and off the field. First came the 3-0 defeat against Pakistan in the UAE, spun out by Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman. Then, in a battle for the No. 1 ranking, South Africa secured a 2-0 victory in England during which the Kevin Pietersen texting controversy took hold and divisions emerged in the dressing room.

"I think we have got more time on our side," Anderson said. "The team then had a lot of players early to mid 30s. Now we have got the backbone of a side that could go on for another ten years and that is very exciting.

"The lads we have got in the dressing room are very down to earth, honest with their own appraisal and the team's own form. We have players who are not finished articles yet but are talented enough to be some of the best players in the world. If they can keep developing and improving then the sky is the limit."

When England previously climbed the rankings under the stewardship of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower during the 2009-2011 period it was, in Flower's style, meticulously planned out. Nathan Leamon, the team analyst, plotted their path through each of the series and the players were talked through how they would achieve their goal.

When the ICC did their annual ranking update in May 2015, England were No. 5 and the top spot was a distant point. Partly because of that and, perhaps, because of the more laid-back style of management under Bayliss and Paul Farbrace, this team's climb has been more organic.

"It has been talked about as a place we want to go but it has not been mapped out for us as it was then," Anderson said. "If we had done the maths it might have been three years before we got there but as results have fallen we can get there sooner than thought. It is a good motivator for us. We want to keep improving. Getting there would be a massive achievement for us all."

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Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo