Former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman Nic Pothas has been appointed Sri Lanka's interim coach days after Graham Ford quit the job, following the team's group-stage exit at the Champions Trophy this month. Pothas, who has served as Sri Lanka's fielding coach since August last year, will oversee the team until the end of the India tour, SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said.
Pothas' role as interim coach will begin at home with the five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe, which starts on June 30, followed by one Test. Before taking over 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.
Pothas played three ODIs for South Africa in 2000 but did not manage to find a regular spot in the team, with Mark Boucher holding the incumbent post. A long-time Hampshire player, Pothas scored over 11,000 runs and effected 659 dismissals in 218 first-class games.
"We have a strategic plan to engage the next coach and Nic Pothas is also a good contender for it," Sumathipala said. "There are professional coaches who are currently engaged and shown a lot of interest and we are confident we will have one at the end of the Indian tour. We will not have to look too far to find somebody who will be competent to take this team till the 2019 World Cup."
Sumathipala also said that there were also Sri Lanka Cricket coaches who have shown interest in the job but added, "we will have to first discuss with our cricket committee and our support team the plan and structure - what kind of coach that we are looking at. When we looked at Dav Whatmore he was a developing coach, he could develop an ordinary team to a world-class side. There are coaches very good at looking after professional advanced ongoing teams. We have to make an assessment on the situation and deploy the right person with the right spirit."