Nic Pothas, the former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman, on Tuesday (June 27), was appointed Sri Lanka’s interim coach days after Graham Ford’s premature exit, following the island nation’s dismal performance in the just-concluded Champions Trophy where they failed to progress ahead of the group stage.
The news was confirmed by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala. The SLC chief said that Pothas, who has been Sri Lanka’s fielding coach since August last year, will remain in charge of the team until the end of the series against India.
“Nic has been with our team since August (as fielding coach) and he knows the players well,” Sumathipala told AFP. “He is very good with the team and I am confident he can do a very good job.”
Before being appointed as Sri Lanka’s fielding coach, Pothas was the academy director at Leicestershire County and has also served as the director of cricket at Guernsey. The former Protea International represented South Africa in three ODIs in 2000 but never managed to cement his spot in the team despite an impressive first-class cricket record where he scored over 11,000 runs and effected 659 dismissals in 218 games.
Ford decided to end his second spell with Sri Lanka just 15 months into the job following the team’s early exit from the Champions Trophy this month. Sri Lanka had managed to defeat defending champions India but defeat against South Africa and Pakistan cost them a place in the semifinal. The South African, who first coached the side from 2012 to 2014, had signed a contract until the 2019 World Cup.
Pothas’ first assignment:
Before the tough series against India next month, Pothas will get a chance to get himself ready for the challenge when he will begin his term as interim coach at home during the five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, which starts on July 2. The ODI series will be followed by one Test.