Sri Lanka tired but rewarded

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The Independent Online

The Sri Lankan team arrived back home yesterday to the expected red carpet treatment after their seven-wicket victory over Australia in Sunday's World Cup final. They were met on the airport tarmac by dancers, hundreds of fans and the obligatory government minister seeking to associate himself with success.

The squad was blessed by Buddhist monks before meeting the country's president, Chandrika Kumaratunga. The team looked tired and attributed their fatigue to lack of sleep. "We've hardly had any time to celebrate," Arjuna Ranatunga, their captain, said. "We've hardly had any sleep. Maybe that's why the red eyes."

Those red eyes may widen when they see all the prizes that are to be festooned on them. If cash and cars were not enough the Maldivian president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, has invited the team for an all-expenses paid holiday in the Maldives islands.

The losing captain, Mark Taylor, believes the game is facing an uncertain future unless the games' rulers act decisively. "There's a lot that has to be looked into at the moment. Things like ball-tampering and throwing. We've got to stop sweeping them under the carpet," he said.

The departing West Indies manager, Wes Hall, has criticised the West Indies Board of Control for announcing managerial changes while his team was still involved in the World Cup. "I think the timing of the changes was deplorable and at some stages I think diabolical," he said.

After the West Indies' shock defeat to Kenya the WICBC announced that Hall and the team coach, Andy Roberts, would be replaced for the forthcoming series against New Zealand.