Lankans will be force at World Cup: Maharoof

Published: Thursday, June 15, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Southampton:Sri Lanka's new generation of cricketers will have re-established the island as a force in the One-day game in time for next year's World Cup in the West Indies, all-rounder Farveez Maharoof believes.

Ten years after their famous World Cup triumph, Sri Lanka have slipped to sixth in the One-day rankings as coach Tom Moody attempts to blend young talent with established performers like Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene and Chaminda Vaas.

A battling 1-1 series draw with England in the just completed Test series has lifted spirits and Sri Lanka head into a five-match One-day series against their hosts in confident mood.

"We are all aware that we are in this rebuilding phase and we have to be patient," Maharoof admitted.

"But there is a lot of young talent in our squad and we know we are working towards the World Cup.

"With the experience we can pick up between now and then there is every reason to believe we will be a threat in that tournament."

Maharoof played a key role in the rearguard action which enabled the tourists to escape defeat in the first Test at Lord's.

"That draw in the first Test made the people at home very happy, we were not expected to do anything against a side that won the Ashes and it gave us confidence," he reflected.

"We say in Sri Lanka that we have a lion's heart and that is the way this side plays. It likes a fight and never gives up."

England were due to face Sri Lanka later on Thursday in a Twenty20 international here. The One-day series begins at Lord's on Saturday.

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