ICC Champions Trophy - 'There were plenty of positives in defeat to Lanka'

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2002, 3:35 [IST]
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Colombo: Netherlands skipper Roland Lefebvre said on Monday that his team had learnt a lot despite suffering a big defeat against Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy one-day cricket tournament here."There were plenty of positives in the defeat," said Lefebvre after his team's 206-run rout in a day-night match at the Premadasa Stadium. Sri Lanka scored 292 for six and then dismissed the tourists for 86."To restrict Sri Lanka to 292 was a grand effort by our bowlers. The wicket was flat and they could have easily run away from us, but our bowlers stuck to their task," Lefebvre said."We dropped a few catches. If we had luck going our way we could have restricted them to less."Lefebvre said the lack of international exposure was the main reason for his team's defeat in the 12-nation tournament. The Netherlands was playing only its sixth One-day international, its last big match being in the 1996 World Cup.It had qualified for this event after winning the ICC Trophy in Canada last year in a tournament played among associate members of the sport's world governing body.The current team had only four cricketers with experience of playing One-day internationals."You've to play this type of cricket over and over again to get used to playing good teams. We're not even used to playing under lights," he said."I'm sure it took Sri Lanka a while to start winning when it first came into international cricket. Bangladesh is struggling a bit now. If we get opportunities to play in strong tournaments we'll grow slowly."The Netherlands captain said it was not aiming for Test status, but for playing more One-day cricket at international level."Our goal is to play more One-day internationals, something we can achieve with continued support from the ICC," he said."I think Test status is a little bit far-fetched. For that, cricket has to become a part of our culture. You need a lot of wickets, grounds and resources."Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya immediately set his sights on the semi-final against Australia after his team's second successive win in a three-team group."We expect a tough game against the Australians," said Jayasuriya. "That's something we always do. We've a few days and will think about the game, work out our plans and pick our best team."

Copyright AFP 2001

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