PAK vs SL 2017, 1st ODI: We Are Trying to Find the Right Formula – Nic Pothas
It seems the win in the Test series was just a temporary respite, as Sri Lanka’s woes were on full display on Friday (October 13), as they were crushed by 83 runs by Pakistan in the first One-Day International in Dubai.
Sri Lanka arrived in UAE after suffering nine straight losses across formats against India at home but gave a spirited performance to clean sweep the two-Test series.
However, their problems once again came to the fore after their dismal performance in the first ODI. Chasing 293, the Islanders were looking primed for humiliation after being reduced to 67 for five before useful knocks from the tail-enders helped them finish the innings on a respectable 209 for eight.
Speaking post game, head coach Nic Pothas said the team is still not settled and also spoke on why three batsmen got tried at number three since the India series. He also made it clear that no player’s position in the squad is safe at the moment.
“We are trying to find the right formula,” Pothas said. “We know how we want to go about putting 50 overs together. We need to give these guys a certain period of time. Kusal (Mendis) is a very good player of spin and rotates very well. Lahiru (Thirimanne) and Dinesh (Chandimal) are the guys who can play those long innings in ODI cricket for you.
“At the moment we are thinking somewhere on those lines. We are in communication with the selectors. The World Cup is going to come quick. Those spots are up for grabs. No one has nailed down a spot. Every position is up for grabs,” he said.
The reason for Sri Lanka’s batting woes in ODIs this year is the failure of the top-order and Pothas admitted it.
“From a batting point of view, the currency of your batting is runs. If you don’t keep making them, the shop is going to close down at some point. We have to ask the batters to take some responsibility. The top six batters managed 96 between them. That’s not good enough,” he said.
The defeat, meanwhile, extended Sri Lanka’s poor ODI record this year where they got whitewashed by South Africa and India in addition to losing the series against Zimbabwe at home and exiting the Champions Trophy at the group stage. Overall, the Islanders have managed to win just four of the 22 ODIs they have played this year, and Pothas conceded that the team was low on confidence.
“Confidence is a big thing. When you lose two of the legends of your game, it is a massive thing but the other side of the coin, in ODIs Pakistan have got very experienced players. They have won the Champions Trophy, and they are flying high. They have got a good formula, and we are trying to find our formula. We have not been very good in this format for a while now. We have to find answers and find them quick,” Pothas said.
The interim coach also lauded Akila Dananjaya whose maiden ODI fifty guided the team to a respectable total.
“We have a system within the team where we want the bowlers to get us those small runs. Akila is a champion. He is a fighter, and he is a character. It was only a matter of time before he played a knock like that. He is only going to get better. Jeffrey is the same. It is pleasing, but I would like to see them bat less, to be honest,” said Pothas.
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