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Lanka can win World Cup: Moody

Senior players will need to step up to the plate to secure victory in the Caribbean, Lankan coach Tom Moody believes.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2006 11:31 IST

Sri Lanka have the right ingredients to win next year's World Cup, but the senior players will need to step up to the plate to secure victory in the Caribbean, coach Tom Moody believes.

Speaking after his team suffered a five-wicket loss to South Africa in their crucial triangular series match in Perth on Tuesday, Moody remained upbeat about the Sri Lankans' prospects in next year's tournament.

However the coach also admitted Sri Lanka would need to rely on Australia to beat South Africa twice in the coming days if his team is to progress to the best-of-three final against the home nation in the current series.

"For us to win the World Cup, which I believe we are capable of doing, we've got another year to develop as a team and learn as a team," he said.

"We need the senior players that are on this tour firing on all cylinders. There's no question about that."

Moody, a former Australian Test and one-day international, cited opener Sanath Jayasuriya, captain Marvan Atapattu and pace bowler Chaminda Vaas as key to Sri Lankan hopes of success.

Jayasuriya again proved his worth in the triangular series when he smacked 86 off 65 balls against South Africa on Tuesday. The 36-year-old also belted 114 against Australia in Sydney.

"Jayasuriya ... we've seen how valuable he is," Moody said. "Marvan, he's a valuable player to us anywhere in the order.

"Vaas is still quality with the new ball. They're all very important."

But Moody also said the Sri Lankans had a growing store of young talent who would have benefitted greatly from the experience of playing in Australia.

"We've got a lot of young faces here. I think they've done pretty well to be honest with you," he said.

"Its a tough introduction to international cricket— the series in Australia. I think (Jehan) Mubarak at the top of the order has played well and he will learn an enormous amount from this experience.

"Nuwan Kulasekara is very young as well and he's only going to get better. He's just come back from stress fractures six months ago so he's not bowling the pace he would normally bowl.

"Upul Tharanga, who hasn't played a lot, has also impressed. He's got two international hundreds at the age of 20.

"Its going to be a great experience for these players and hopefully they'll learn a lot from their time down here."

Moody said Sri Lanka now faced a monumental task to reach the best-of-three finals against Australia.

"We need Australia to do the business against South Africa," he said.

Australia play South Africa in Melbourne on Friday and in Sydney next Sunday while Sri Lanka meet the Proteas in the final qualifying match in Hobart on February 7.

First Published: Feb 01, 2006 11:31 IST