Sri Lanka in New Zealand, 2005-06 January 5, 2006

'It's a matter of winning one game': Atapattu

Cricinfo staff



Bracewell to focus on player development © Getty Images

With the 2007 World Cup a little more than a year away, both New Zealand and Sri Lanka have an eye on future targets going into the third one-day international at Wellington on Friday. For John Bracewell, the New Zealand coach, the objective is to develop depth ahead of next year's World Cup while the desperately out-of-form Sri Lankans would look to team up with a sports psychologist for much-needed mental analysis.

The Sri Lankans are still struggling for self-belief after coming to New Zealand off a 1-6 hiding in India, and they have turned to Sandy Gordon, the South African sports psychologist, for help. Gordon will spend time with the team when they arrive in Australia next week to prepare for the tri-nations series there.

"We've let ourselves down with some bad basics," Marvan Atapattu, the Sri Lankan captain, said. "It's a matter of winning one game. We are better than this and if we can win the whole thing changes."

From the New Zealand squad which won the second match at Christchurch, Nathan Astle has been dropped to make way for returning captain Stephen Fleming, while Jeetan Patel, the offspinner, has been brought in for James Franklin, the fast bowler.

The surprising decision to drop Astle, New Zealand's most successful one-day batsman who ground his way out of a batting slump with an unbeaten 90 on Tuesday, was part of the "squad mentality", according to Bracewell. Heading towards the 2007 World Cup, player development across all positions took precedence over the individual.

"They're always tough decisions, but we need a squad mentality and I want to continue with the long-term planning towards the World Cup, which is developing a strong competitive squad in all positions," Bracewell said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket has announced their team for the third National Bank series match against Sri Lanka at Wellington.

New Zealand squad Stephen Fleming (capt), Daniel Vettori, Shane Bond, Chris Cairns, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Jamie How, Hamish Marshall, Brendon McCullum (wk), Jeetan Patel, Scott Styris, Lou Vincent .

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