Atapattu targets World Cup glory

Marvan AtapattuNew Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu is upbeat about his side’s chances of landing a second World Cup title next year (Sri Lanka 7/1 – Tournament Outright).

The Sri Lankans claimed their only World Cup triumph back in 1996 when they shocked a star-studded Australia side to claim the spoils (Australia 11/4 favourites – Tournament Outright).

But they have been one of the most consistent nations in the 50-over event and have been runners-up on the last two occasions it was held.

Defeat to India last time out in 2011 was no disgrace as MS Dhoni was in charge of one of the greatest India one-day sides and they were soundly beaten by the hosts.

But there is renewed optimism that they might now be able to go one stage further in 2015 and emulate the feat achieved by Arjuna Ranatunga’s side 18 years ago.

Veterans such as Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga are still in the ranks while there are a number of talented youngsters coming through, led by the excellent Angelo Mathews.

And Atapattu has made it clear that team spirit is good as they look forward to next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“It is the World Cup that is our focus. Our morale is high,” he said. “We have had a good run in the past six months and obviously the challenge for me is to sustain the success and build on it.

“I have a team of players who are willing to listen and learn. Even the world’s number one batsman always wants to learn something new to add to his game.”

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