No divided loyalties for Lankan coach Moody

Published: Monday, April 16, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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St George's, Grenada:Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody has insisted he won't have any problems watching his side take on Australia, the country he represented as a player.

Reigning champions Australia meet Sri Lanka in a World Cup Super Eights match at Grenada's National Stadium here Monday, with both teams having already qualified for the semi-finals.

The two sides are also widely tipped to reach the final in Barbados on April 25.

Moody, a member of the Australia squads that won the 1987 and 1999 World Cups, said: "To be honest with you, it's no different to any other match.

"Obviously I've got some good friends in the opposition side who I've played with and won a World Cup with," the 41-year-old former Western Australia all-rounder added.

"But at the end of the day that doesn't mean my focus and preparation is any different for the Sri Lankan team against Australia than it would be against any other team. I'm focused on winning the match and doing my job as professionally as possible.

"Coaching and playing are completely different. It's me preparing a team to perform at its best on any given day against any given opposition in any given conditions. Whether it's against my home country or not is really irrelevant.

"In any sport in the world, we see many different coaches from different countries looking after different teams and their role is exactly the same."

Moody wasn't the only Australian who arrived in the Caribbean in charge of another national side.

Greg Chappell, one of cricket's greatest batsmen, was coach of India but decided not to seek an extension to his contract after their shock first round World Cup exit which included a defeat by Bangladesh.

However, Moody was in no doubt the former Australia captain would find a role elsewhere after reports linking the 58-year-old with a move to the Australian Cricket Academy.

"He had arguably the toughest coaching job in world cricket. The expectation of over one billion people is a huge weight on anyone's shoulders," said Moody.

"Personally, I felt Greg had done a good job with the Indian side. Okay, they lost a couple of games and suddenly his tenure's finished.

"But he's got a lot to offer the game, whether it be in a coaching role, a consultancy role or whatever it may be, I'm sure someone in world cricket is going to take advantage of his vast experience and knowledge. Wherever he takes that, I'm sure people will benefit."

Moody was the front-runner to replace John Buchanan, who is stepping down after the World Cup, as coach of Australia until he ruled himself out, and so paved the way for former academy chief Tim Nielsen to take over.

Since then he has been strongly tipped to return to Perth and succeed Wayne Clark as Western Australia coach following this tournament.

However, Moody - who made his name as a coach with English county side Worcestershire and has since won widespread acclaim for his work with a largely youthful Sri Lankan side - didn't rule out the possibility of coaching Australia at some stage.

"In the future you'd never not look at any opportunity but currently the position wasn't quite right, the timing wasn't right for me," Moody explained.

"But who's to say in three, five, ten years time it doesn't suit my position at that point. You don't close doors completely on any opportunity."


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