Monty Panesar will become one of the top 3 spinners in the world someday, capable of winning matches against teams other than New Zealand and South Africa (and, ok, Pakistan, who are the archetype of blow hot, blow cold).
Stuart Broad can do the sustained Steve-Harmison-at-his-best performances consistantly, and there are good chances that he will end up with more test hundreds than Wasim Akram.
Kevin Pietersen is an idiot, a braggart, and an insensitive jerk, but he is a once-in-a-lifetime player, or atleast has the genuine potential of ending up as one.
Alistair Cook is the kind of player countries build their batting line-ups around. (Note, I am talking about test cricket here)
And yet, I am pretty sure English cricket, like English football, will never be the sustained world no 1 for any decent length of time, next decade. It’s about the lack of a positive attitude, it’s about the media, and it’s about the lack of wonderment about the game. A great English performance is more often than not, a struggle. An English team has to be 110% of the team it is playing against on that day, to have a chance of winning. While most top teams, if they are at about 95% of the other team on a day, fancy their chances. A winning attitude, a belief. That is missing.