Lanka can return home with pride: Moody

Bridgetown, April 30:

Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody is confident that his team will be a major force in international cricket despite losing the World Cup final against Australia.

“We have made a significant progress as a group in the last couple of years and if we continue to maintain the professionalism there’s no reason why Sri Lanka can’t compete on a regular basis with teams like Australia,” he said.

Australia became the first team to win the Cup for a third successive time when they beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs on Duckworth-Lewis method at the Kensington Oval. “Sri Lanka can walk away from this World Cup feeling very proud of what they have achieved. It was very hard to get to this point,” said Moody. “A lot of hard work had gone into it. I think they had an exceptional World Cup and to find themselves in the final against the best team in the world is a great achievement.”

Moody said Sri Lanka’s cricket had a bright future although quite a few players were near the end of their careers. “Sri Lanka has got depth and talent which needs the right opportunity and perseverance. They play the game with a lot of passion and pride. They play the game hard,” he said.

Moody said one of the main reasons for Sri Lanka’s successes was their excellent strength in depth. “We found ourselves in strong positions many times because the players we had in the reserves are capable of playing in the first eleven. The main reason we reached the final was that we had a good bench-strength,” he said.

Sri Lanka advanced to the final for only the second time, having won the Cup in 1996 against Australia at Lahore. Moody was disappointed that his side did not get a chance to figure in a 100-over final after playing consistently for nearly two months in the Caribbean.

Sri Lanka had won eight of their 10 matches before the rain-hit final which eventually saw them chasing 269 off 36 overs. They managed 215-8 before losing the game in darkness.

Moody said it would have been very interesting had his side played the full final or even a 38-overs-a-side as was decided after the morning rain.

He said he had not yet decided on his future. “I am not making any decision on my future. I have a chance to reflect, sit back and have a look where I want to be professionally and personally in the next stage of my career,” said Moody, whose contract expires in May.