Sri Lanka can topple Australia - Atapattu
Sri Lanka could pose a major threat to Australia's supremacy in international cricket after picking Tom Moody as their new national coach, says skipper Marvan Atapattu.
Sri Lanka are second behind Australia in the one-day rankings, but Atapattu hopes his team will now be able to threaten their position and put up a strong performance in the 2007 World Cup under Moody.
"We are now No. 2 on the ICC's one-day rankings. We need to go one notch up to get to the pinnacle and hope we'll be able to achieve that with the new coach," Atapattu told AFP on Tuesday. "He [Moody] has been part of a great team and has been highly regarded as a coach. I hope with his fresh ideas we'll be able to achieve a higher level of consistency."
Moody, 39, who played significant roles as an allrounder in Australia's World Cup triumphs in 1987 and 1999, was named as Sri Lanka's new coach last week. Moody immediately set his sights on the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, saying his aim would be to make Sri Lanka more competitive, especially away from home.
"Our main focus obviously will be on the World Cup," Moody said last week. "I'd like to think that the journey between now and 2007 is a process towards a successful campaign in the West Indies. "We as a team should achieve one of the top three positions in Test standings and in order to get there we need to improve on our form at home and away. That will be one of my main areas of concern."
Moody, who played eight Tests and 76 one-dayers, will arrive here next month to prepare Sri Lanka for two home Test matches against the West Indies in July and then a triangular one-day series also featuring India.
Chaminda Vaas echoed Atapattu's sentiments, saying Moody's presence will make the team stronger. "I appreciate his desire to succeed," said Vaas. "He's very young and aware of the requirements of the modern game. He knows how to get the best out of players. I'm sure he'll enjoy his stint with the Sri Lankan players who will benefit from him a lot. What I like most about him is his preparation ahead of a game. I've been part of the Worcestershire dressing-room for a couple of months and I feel he's a coach with a difference who will have an impact on the Sri Lankan side."
Vaas is currently playing county cricket for Worcestershire, where Moody is director of cricket, but with a "getaway" clause which will make him free to take on the new job. Moody was also in the running to coach India before losing out to his compatriot Greg Chappell.