"If India continues to be consistent, it can certainly lift the next World Cup," said Ranatunga.
Ranatunga, who is now Sri Lanka's deputy minister for Tourism, was in Kozhikode to participate in the function marking Sri Lankan Airlines beginning direct flights from here.
"India will have to protect its prime players like Anil Kumble till the next World Cup," said Ranatunga, who led his country to a historic triumph in the 1996 World Cup.
On the present Lankan team, Ranatunga said it was talented but lacked commitment unlike the '96 team.
But he said Sri Lanka, the only team having enough match practice, could still lift the forthcoming Asia Cup as both India and Pakistan have not played cricket for some time now.
Ranatunga also supported World record holder Muttiah Muralitharan's decision to skip the Australian tour.
"Murali took the right decision to opt out of the Australian tour," he said without elaborating.
He also charged the Lankan Board of being corrupt and mismanaging funds and claimed the Board, which had funds to the tune of Rs 1.2 billion when he left, was now running an overdraft of Rs 15 million.