Sri Lanka future in safe hands despite early exit: coach Arthur

The 2014 Champion came through the qualifiers and lost three of its four Super 12 stage games to see its semi-final hopes evaporate.

The South Africa-born coach said the players were "absolutely shattered" after giving their best and still falling short, but he would rather look at the larger picture.   -  Getty Images

Sri Lanka is out of the semi-final race at the Twenty20 World Cup but coach Mickey Arthur is convinced the future of cricket in that country is in safe hands with the emergence of young talents such as "superstar" Wanindu Hasaranga.

The 2014 Champion came through the qualifiers and lost three of its four Super 12 stage games to see its semi-final hopes evaporate.

The young team under Dasun Shanaka did not go without a fight, however, especially against unbeaten Group I leader England, and second-placed South Africa.

"We've shaken up the World Cup. I think we have," Arthur told a news conference ahead of Friday's final group match against holder West Indies.

"I think we've pushed teams. The disappointing thing for me is, in every game we've played of the last three, whether it be Australia, be that South Africa and be that England, we've had opportunities to win the game."

"We're not going to qualify this year but Sri Lankan cricket is now in good hands."

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The South Africa-born coach said the players were "absolutely shattered" after giving their best and still falling short, but he would rather look at the larger picture.

"In coaching, we always talk about roots to grow and wings to fly. I think we've allowed them wings to fly.

"I sit back and I look at what these guys are going to offer Sri Lankan cricket in the future ... I'm really excited about what their future has in store for Sri Lankan cricket."

He identified nine talented players, the most prominent being Hasaranga, who became the top Twenty20 bowler in the latest official rankings released on Wednesday.

"Every time I see him with a ball or see him with a bat or in the field, he excites me as a cricketer," Arthur said of the leg-spinner who is the tournament's leading wicket-taker, with 14 of them from seven matches.

"He's riding the crest of a wave ... He works unbelievably hard at his game and doesn't leave anything to chance in terms of his preparation.

"I couldn't be happier with where he is at the moment. He's a genuine world superstar at the moment," he added.

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