Cricket: Sri Lanka coach Pothas seeks free hand to lead revival
REUTERS - Sri Lanka cricket coach Nic Pothas says "too many cooks" are spoiling his efforts to revive the national team and has called for greater autonomy in the wake of yet another confidence-sapping loss against India on Sunday.
Sri Lanka were well beaten in the recently concluded three-test series against India, losing the first two matches inside four days and the last one in three to be whitewashed 3-0.
If the home fans had hoped the change in format would bring a change in fortunes, they were left bitterly disappointed as India breezed to a nine-wicket win in the first one-day international in Dambulla, chasing down a 217-run target in under 29 overs.
"You do get angry - to say 'too many cooks' is probably accurate," Pothas told reporters after Sunday's loss, voicing his concerns at the role played by Sri Lanka's administrators and selectors in running the team. "You get frustrated.
"Am I angry with the players? Absolutely not. The players work as hard as anyone can ask of them. They've been superb. Support staff have been out of this world. Brilliant.
"They work endless hours with planning and helping the boys. You can't fault anyone within that changing room."
Sri Lanka were thrashed in both tests and one-dayers in South Africa, lost a home test against Bangladesh and then failed to progress beyond the group stage at this year's Champions Trophy.
It was followed by their first one-day series loss to Zimbabwe in July, which prompted a frustrated Angelo Mathews to relinquish the captaincy of both the test and one-day sides.
"If it was up to me and we had control over what we did, then we could probably give you a timeline (for improvement)," said Pothas, who was named coach in June following the resignation of Graham Ford.
"It's a question you probably need to ask a few other people as well. For me, if we were left alone and you could work with this group of players, you could get some stability and consistency over a period of six months. You'd see massive improvements.
"These are seriously gifted players. You give them a little bit of time - you give them a little bit of love, a little bit of care, and build up that confidence, you'll see results quick."
Pothas also asked the selectors to back a set of players and stick with them to give them confidence.
"When you get consistency within a team of players, you will see improvements in performance," Pothas said. "When we're getting new players every game, it gets very difficult from a confidence point of view.
"From the player's point of view it's very difficult. It's difficult for us - the coaching staff - to create a strategy."
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)