West Indies captain Brian Lara (on ground) exercises during a training session at the Kensington Oval in Barbados yesterday. - Dellmar
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP):
WEST INDIES cricket captain Brian Lara warned his teammates yesterday against being complacent going into their one-day international series against Sri Lanka.
The three-match series, which begins in Barbados today, comes after the West Indies recovered to win the last three one-dayers in a seven-match series against Australia in the Caribbean. World Cup champion Australia won the series 4-3.
"We have to stay away from overconfidence," Lara said. "We have to keep the guys competitive, keep them honest and make sure they know that it's going to be also a very tough task."
Lara, 34, said that while Sri Lanka perhaps were not as strong as Australia, "the people of the Caribbean will be expecting us to do well".
Aside from their one-day match victories last month, the West Indies also won the fourth and final Test against Australia with a historic fourth innings run chase. Australia won the Test series 3-1.
"The way we have ended both Test and one-day series, we are on an upward mobility and we are looking forward to more successes," Lara said.
"The guys are full of confidence," he said, "but they also have the fear in their minds of the Sri Lankans and how good they are."
Coach Gus Logie echoed Lara's sentiments.
"We started something in terms of a process," Logie said. "It's one day at a time, one game at a time, one season at a time, one series at a time."
Following the four one-dayers, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will play two Test matches.
Sri Lanka's one-day skipper Marvan Atapattu said his team was seeking to improve after failing to qualify for the final of its past two multi-team one-day tournaments -- in Sharjah in April and in Sri Lanka last month.
In the recent tournaments "we haven't had much success", said Atapattu, 32, who took over from Sanath Jayasuriya for the first time in Sharjah.
"We are in a rebuilding stage now," he said. "We just want to start a good couple of months by having one or two good series under the belt."
Atapattu said that star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan remained a key to his attack.
"He's such a great bowler,' Atapattu said. "Depending on him too much, I don't think there is any harm in that."
Atapatt said he had followed the West Indies-Australia series and saw a different West Indies team than the one beaten badly in Sri Lanka in December 2001.
"I saw a difference in the approach as the tour went along," he said. "They are more competitive, let's put it that way."
West Indies XI: Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), David Bernard Jnr., Corey Collymore, Mervyn Dillon, Vasbert Drakes, Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ridley Jacobs, Ricardo Powell, Marlon Samuels.
Sri Lanka: Marvan Atapattu (captain), Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kashual Lokuarachchi, Kumar Dharmasena, Prabath Nissanka, Upul Chandana, Darshana Gamage, Dinusha Fernando, Naveed Nawaz.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand), Billy Doctrove (Dominica).