MOODY MODE: Sri Lankans looking to get winning streak back


Going into the game at Jaipur, and considering the history of the ground, we were confident that a total of 260-270 would be competitive enough to cause problems for the side batting second.

In the event, we managed to put far more runs than we expected on the board, or so we thought. Obviously, we had no idea of the impending blizzard called Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Simply put, it was an incomparable innings — one that I am sure will be replayed time and again — and one of the best one-day knocks that I have ever seen.

For all that, and taking nothing away from his knock, we should perhaps hold our horses before we put Dhoni up there with the likes of Adam Gilchrist in terms of consistent destructiveness.

For that to happen, I think Dhoni has to prove himself abroad, on pitches in England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in conditions where the new ball bowlers will hold the advantage rather than have the odds stacked up against them.

To get back to this series, we still have four matches to win, and despite Monday’s loss, I think we are slowly finding our feet. After all, there are a lot of young guys in this team who have never been to India before, and are taking their time getting used to conditions that are unique to this country, conditions that cause a great deal of problems for bowlers of all visiting teams. I say that because our performance in the first two matches in this series was pretty out of character. I think we were guilty of focusing on our opponents more than on ourselves and trying to play the game India’s way.

But we made a significant improvement in Jaipur. For one thing, Sanga played that brilliant knock and though Dhoni may have overshadowed him later on, the two wicketkeepers provided completely contrasting examples of limited-overs batting and I think those who got tickets to the game really got their money’s worth courtesy the pair.

We are obviously not completely back on track yet, and I would tend to focus on the positives from Jaipur, like the 150-plus partnership that Mahela and Sanga built, or our fielding, which didn’t lose its intensity even at the height of Dhoni’s onslaught. There is no point in focusing on what an individual did. Such innings are not an everyday occurrence, so I would say that we could only get better from here.

In the end, whatever happens in the next 12 months will be irrelevant if we can lift the World Cup in 2007, it is as simple as that. No one will remember that w failed to qualify for the final of a tri-series, or even lost a series outright. We are looking at long-term goals, and though I have read reports saying ‘Moody’s honeymoon’ with the Sri Lankan team is over, I would point out that we have taken the first steps of what will be a marathon. My coaching stint began with the Indian Oil Cup victory and we are looking to get that winning streak back.

Tom Moody is the coach of the Sri Lankan cricket team and is writing exclusively for The Himalayan Times