Looking to emulate the kind of revival that took India from seventh in the ICC Test Rankings to the top in the space of two years, Sri Lanka Interim Coach Nic Pothas yesterday said that changing the culture of the team was essential in riding out the rebuilding phase that it is currently in.
Pothas has been tasked with coaching the team till a permanent appointment is made, following the departure of Graham Ford after the ICC Champions Trophy campaign last month.
“I think we’re probably in the same situation that (the) Indian Team (were) were few years ago. We’re in the rebuilding phase. In that first (Zimbabwe) series it was more about getting to know about the players, but most importantly the words being mentioned already – the culture, trying to change the culture, ownership, attention to detail, intensity at practice and overall improvement. So, if you use those as your cornerstones, which we will, we’ll certainly see some improvements in a very short period of time,” Pothas said.
Meanwhile, coming off the record chase against Zimbabwe earlier this week, One Day International and Twenty20 International Captain Upul Tharanga said the Sri Lankan Team’s confidence was high and playing the number one team in the world would be a good barometre to measure their development.
“I think Zimbabwe played well throughout the tour and it took a lot of effort to beat them. Chasing that record target in the second innings has really boosted our confidence,” Tharanga said.
“India are the number one ranked team in the world and when you play the number one ranked team, we know, as a team, what we have to do. What we have to look at now is how we can go forward and how we can beat our next opposition. We have to keep the trust the players gave in the team. We beat the number one ranked team (Australia) the last time, and I think playing the (current) number one team is a good opportunity for us to show where we are in our development.”
Kohli identified India’s 2015 Tour of Sri Lanka as a turning point in his team’s assent to the top of the Test Rankings, but despite Sri Lanka being in a rebuilding phase, said that they would not take Sri Lanka lightly.
“We still remember the tour of Australia was in 2014 and 2015 that we found ourselves number seven in the world and from then on the transformation started and I think this particular series in Sri Lanka is what gave us belief after being 0-1 down in the series. The victories were hard fought but what it taught us was to come together and come closer as a team and understand our strengths and weaknesses and define the roles that we play in Test cricket and take the team higher in the rankings and within 12 or 14 months from Australia we were already in the number one side in the world. We just touched it. But from then on we’ve solidified it,” Kohli said.
“But everyone in the team knows and believes that this is where it all started for us. After losing that Test in Galle, a dent for us mentally, and how the team came back from that was iconic. We definitely don’t take any opponent lightly. We pay equal respect to any opposition because you can be a strong and a weak side, but you still have to play the same game. You have to earn your wins. I firmly believe if you want to win a series in any part of the world you have to play good cricket, which we are ready to do,” Kohli said recalling that particular success. (Shehan Daniel)