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April 29, 2007
Tom Moody, Sri Lanka's coach, was disappointed at his team's loss to Australia in the final of the World Cup but is confident they will still be a force to reckon with in international cricket. Moody also predicted a bright future for the team even though a lot of senior players are in the twilight of their career.
"We have made a significant progress as a group in the last couple of years and if we continue to maintain the professionalism there's no reason why Sri Lanka can't compete on a regular basis with teams like Australia," he said. "Sri Lanka can walk away from this World Cup feeling very proud of what they have achieved. It was very hard to get to this point."
Moody contributed much of Sri Lanka's success to wide range of talent at their disposal. "Sri Lanka has got depth and talent which needs the right opportunity and perseverance. They play the game with a lot of passion and pride. They play the game hard.
"We found ourselves in strong positions many times because the players we had in the reserves are capable of playing in the first eleven. The main reason we reached the final was that we had a good bench-strength," he added.
Sri Lanka reached the final of a World Cup for only the second time. Their first instance resulted in a happier ending when they defeated Australia in 1996 to lift the trophy. Sri Lanka had won eight of their ten matches in this year's tournament before succumbing to a Gilchrist-powered Australia.
"I think we were only half-a-yard away from winning the World Cup. We were very close, so I think this team is capable of winning the next World Cup. There's no reason why Sri Lanka won't continue its upward curve.
"A lot of hard work had gone into it. I think they had an exceptional World Cup and to find themselves in the final against the best team in the world is a great achievement."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Stats highlights from the fourth ODI between India and West Indies in Dharamsala