Nic Pothas compared Team India to the dominant All Blacks    AFP
Nic Pothas compared Team India to the dominant All Blacks AFP

Rugby is a huge sport in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. These teams often play tri-nation series. New Zealand’s All Blacks, who are the defending World Champions in rugby, are peerless. Not often would you come across a Springbok (South African Rugby side) fan going gaga over rivals All Blacks but that is what exactly Nic Pothas, Sri Lanka’s South African coach did while praising India who routed Sri Lanka 9-0 in the recently concluded tour. India became the first team to visit a nation and met out this sort of a drubbing. ALSO READ: Virat Kohli becomes 3rd-highest run-getter in T20I

Calling Indian skipper Virat Kohli a “role model”, Pothas told reporters after the one-off T20I at R Premadasa Stadium, “You’ve got to look at the quality they have in that side. It is a side with immense quality. It is always going to be tough to compete against them, or to try and beat them. They do so many things very well. You see how Virat Kohli runs between the wickets. You see the respect he commands on the field as a leader. He is a role model to people and he pulls people with him. When you look at the way they go about their work and the culture that Virat has created within that team, it’s very, very impressive.”

India whitewashed Sri Lanka 3-0 in Tests before effecting a 5-0 drubbing in ODIs and only the only T20I too. Kohli was the Man of the Match for his 84.

Drawing reference with All Black’s dominance in rugby, Pothas added, “You look at their team and they are very All-Black-like. There is a lot of respect for the opposition. They are very ruthless in the way they go about their work. Their work ethic is immense. They are what a lot of teams aspire to be. The most important thing for us is learning from our mistakes, but most importantly, learning from them.”

Pothas believes that Sri Lanka will only learn and get better from this bitter experience, and his side has very good players who have the potential to become world-class. Praising former Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews, Pothas hailed him as a world-class cricketer and said it is unfair to judge him “over a short spate of games.”

“It’s very tough on Angie. When you’re a senior player, obviously the opposition targets you. Then you have that pressure of being a senior player to perform. It’s very, very tough. Angie is a world-class cricketer and I don’t think you can ever judge any person over a short spate of games. We’re all cliched about it, but form is temporary and Angie is a class cricketer. Outside of being a class cricketer he’s a very, very intelligent man. So he’ll go back, work on it, we’ll have discussions – I have no issues with Angie,” Pothas added.