Of all the characteristics to propel a team to No.1, earnest endeavour wouldn't often be top of the list. Yet that is exactly what has worked for this current England side. Rather than the magic that makes most top teams magnetic, England possess more earthly qualities - as exemplified by Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook, the two batsmen who scooped the top prizes at the ICC Awards in London on Monday night.
It is a far cry from the last time England had a team challenging for the top spot. In 2005 Andrew Flintoff and his band of reverse-swinging hitmen out-gunned the great Australian team in the most memorable cricketing summer of a generation. Back then Flintoff provided inspiration, these days it's all about perspiration. However, he feels the difference between the teams comes from England's current standing in the game.
"In 2005 we weren't the best team in the world, Australia were," Flintoff told ESPNcricinfo. "We could go out and play and we weren't expected really to beat them, we surprised a few. The pressures on this side are different, they're head and shoulders above everybody else. With that comes a responsibility to win."