Aravinda de Silva, the outgoing chairman of cricket selectors for Sri Lanka, today said it was hard for him to bear the team's loss against India in the final of the World Cup last week.
De Silva, who resigned from the position following the defeat, added that Sri Lanka missed out on a golden opportunity to win a second World Cup.
"When we took over I remember telling Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara) I don't want it to be mentioned that the 1996 team was the only one who won a World Cup," de Silva, a member of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka side said.
"It's time we changed that. This was the best opportunity we had to go out there and give 200 per cent and try and change it. To have not succeeded is definitely a very big disappointment for me. However, at the same time the players gave 200 per cent and they were committed," he said.
India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets and 10 balls to spare chasing a target of 274 at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on Saturday.
"Maybe they were thinking about lost opportunities and became emotional when there was a partnership. The thing that we saw externally at that time doesn't mean there was no 100 per cent commitment," he said.
Following Mahela Jayawardene's unbeaten hundred, Sri Lanka were well on course when they dismissed openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar cheaply, but Gautam Gambhir and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blunted the Sri Lankan attack to take India through.
"This is the difference between an Australian side and ours. To fight until the last ball and not to give up the game and even try and take wickets off the last three balls. These are the things that we don't have in our culture.
"Australia never gives up the match until the last run is scored, I know it because I have played against that opposition. That's their greatness. We are superior in talent than Australia but it is the character and the fighting spirit which we must inculcate in our culture," de Silva added.
De Silva also said that Sri Lanka need to prepare for the next World Cup from now onwards with the focus on fast bowlers.
"A lot of changes need to be made and the correct decisions need to be taken both long term and short term. If Sri Lanka wants to take its cricket forward in the proper path we need to implement a long term plan focused on the next World Cup in 2015.
"Emphasis should be on fast bowlers for the next World Cup because it is being held in Australia and New Zealand. The opening batsmen should not be too flashy but ones who can consolidate being technically more solid because on those wickets the new ball assists the fast bowlers.
"We must look for more solid openers for Australia and New Zealand. Changes have to be made and tough decisions taken therefore the next chairman of selectors must be strong to implement them," de Silva said.
World Cup Final Defeat Was Hard to Bear: Aravinda
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