Coach reflects on successful tour of England July 20, 2006

Sri Lanka cricket in good shape: Moody

Moody feels the youngsters enhanced their World Cup claims in England © Getty Images

Tom Moody, the coach of Sri Lanka, believes his side's recent success in England was a stepping stone towards achieving greater goals in the future. After a difficult, inconsistent six months Sri Lanka, under the inspirational Mahela Jayawardene, exceeded expectations and played with the natural flair that was traditionally their strength and Moody was quick to single out the team's journey.

"The success of the team on the tour just didn't happen, but because of a lot of hard work that was put in 12 months prior to it. Everyone's got to take credit for that," Moody told reporters. "There's been a lot of work done by the individual players, support staff, management and senior players. As a team we gained enormous confidence and we look to improve even further in all aspects of our game.

"If we don't rest on our laurels on one good tour but continue to make that progress we had made in the past 12 months, we are in good shape. Everyone wants success but at times we all need to be patient for that success particularly when we are looking to groom the next generation of youngsters," Moody said. "Players don't instantly turn into super stars overnight; sometimes it takes 6 months, 12 or 24 months for a player to adapt to the speed of the game at international level in Test and one-day cricket. There's no question the talent is here in Sri Lanka."

Moody added that the most significant aspect on the tour of England was the performance and consistency of the side. "It started to take place after a few weeks when the team adjusted to the conditions and accepted a number of things we had to face over there," he said. "On Saturday evening of the first Test at Lord's the reality of the situation really hit home. The group of players dug very deep and showed not only themselves but the England team and the Sri Lankan public that they had some genuine characters."

"They fought back from a hideous position to save the Test match. From that point the penny may have dropped that we can compete in the series, that we can win over here," he said. "The hard work that we are doing is working. Let's persevere with that hard work and believe in ourselves. The results beyond that point speak for themselves."

Sri Lanka, who had a week off following their nine-week tour, will start fitness training from Thursday in preparation for the two-Test home series against South Africa starting on July 27.