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April 22, 2009
Paul Farbrace, Sri Lanka's assistant coach, is his confident his team will be well-prepared for Australia and West Indies, the other teams in their group, when the World Twenty20 gets underway in June.
"We talked about how we are going to practice and started to do research on West Indies and Australia in terms of Twenty20 cricket," said Sri Lanka's assistant coach. "Sanga [Kumar Sangakkara, the captain] is very keen that we are really well-organised and planned and we should give this World T20 a really good show.
"I am not going to say that we are going to win it. There are three to five teams that could win this competition. I think it will come down to who prepares the best and who on the day is able to put in that big performance to win close games."
Farbrace, 41, pointed out that not all the senior team-members had featured in the last five Twenty20 internationals, thus making way for other players. "The last Twenty20 game against India is one we should have won," he said. "We got ourselves into a great position with a much reduced team with no star names. With the side we have and the balance we've got within our set-up, we could be a very good Twenty20 team.
"Sanga coming in is a follow-on from Mahela [Jayawardene]. Mahela's been such a successful captain and a great leader, and now Sanga's got the chance to build on what Mahela's done. They've been great friends which makes the progression from one to the other easy for the players."
The push towards improvement has been helped by the honest appraisal of the players with regard to their inidvidual perfomances, Farbrace said. "In Zimbabwe everybody knew we won the series 5-0 but we also knew that we didn't bat particular well in that series. There was genuine pleasure that we won a game but there were also long discussions of how we need to improve.
"Even in Bangladesh we won the games but there were always areas in which the team wanted to improve. If you are a [Chaminda] Vaas, [Muttiah] Muralitharan or [Sanath] Jayasuriya, to play the amount of games they've played, there has to be this drive in them to want to get better. Having these guys in the team means everybody is happy when they win, but they are never satisfied. They always want more.
In recent times, Sri Lanka's one-day record has been disappointing, especially when compared to their Test successes. "With one-day cricket we need to be a bit more planned and a little bit more organised, " Farbarce said. "What we probably need to do is set a few more targets when we play one-day cricket. We've got to get our balance right in allowing people to play their natural game within a framework which allows the team to have a gameplan and develop. That's something we've discussed in the last couple of weeks.
"We need to be a little bit more organised and planned with our one-day batting, though the bowling has been good. We just need to be a bit clever so that we have a better strategy on how to play the one-dayers.
"The talent of players that Sri Lanka has is really fantastic. With the World Cup in two years time we would like to be involved in a successful campaign. From my own point of view there is so much to be done here. There is also a lot of excitement in terms of the players in the squad. A new captain always brings in a lot of excitement."
Farbrace, who was among the victims of the terror attack in Lahore last month, had suffered injuries to his right arm. He has recovered well since, and has stayed back in Sri Lanka for treatment.