Sri Lanka use one-day series as World Cup primer
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 9th February 2007
Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody called Thursday for an impressive show from
his team in the one-day series against India, saying it was vital for
their confidence ahead of next month's World Cup.
Sri Lanka are grouped with India, Bangladesh and debutants Bermuda in
the World Cup starting in the Caribbean in March, with the top two
advancing to the Super Eight stage.
"Beating India in the group stage would be a major step in our progress
to the Super Eight, so this series offers the team a good opportunity
to find form going into the World Cup," he wrote in his column in
Sri Lanka open the four-match series against India later Thursday with
a day-nighter at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
"Cricket's showpiece event is not the best place to find your form,
after all, and it would be perfect if we had a series win under our
belts so that the guys would be on autopilot in the Caribbean," said
Sri Lanka are without key spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler
Chaminda Vaas, but Moody said their absence was a blessing in disguise.
The duo, with a combined tally of 802 wickets in one-day
internationals, has been rested for the India series.
"I think that (their absence) is actually a blessing because it gives
the two a well-earned break," he said. "They are two of the pillars of
this side, and since much is expected of them in both forms of the
game, they will obviously need to freshen up physically and mentally
for the World Cup.
"Their absence also gives some of the younger players the opportunity
to assume greater responsibility. True, the younger guys have some
pretty big shoes to fill, but we are 100 percent confident of their
Moody said his team were keen to gain momentum, although the conditions
in India and the Caribbean were different.
"We will be two neutral teams playing at neutral venues in the World
Cup, though we are in the same group," he said. "The overpowering
energy that flows from the crowds when India play at home will be
missing in the West Indies, so it will be more of an even contest. We
hope to gather a lot of momentum from this series to carry into the
World Cup, though I am not a great supporter of the theory that playing
conditions in India and the Caribbean islands are pretty similar."