Who is Nic Pothas?
By Avenash Ramzan
Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Monday announced that former South African wicketkeeper/batsman Nic Pothas has been appointed interim Head Coach for the current Bangladesh series.
West Indies will face the host nation in two Tests, the first of which starts on Thursday, three ODIs, three T20Is.
Pothas, who was part of the West Indies technical staff as the Fielding Coach, celebrated his 45th birthday on November 18 and is from Johannesburg.
CWI Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams thinks “having Nic lead the team at this juncture is important for continuity and we look forward to strong and positive performances from the squad under his leadership.”
According to his profile on ESPNCricinfo, Pothas was a versatile wicketkeeper-batsman, “who became a more accomplished batsman as his career progressed to the extent he opened the batting at times for Transvaal in the Castle Cup in the absence of a genuine opening batsman.”
The right-handed batsman appeared for English county side Hampshire and Indian Cricket League’s Delhi Giants in March 2008, and three years later called time on his career.
He played three ODIs for South Africa in 2000, making 24 in his lone knock against Pakistan in a Tri-Nation series also involving New Zealand.
Pothas scored 11,438 runs from 218 First-Class games at an average of 40.85. He made 24 hundreds, with 165 being the highest. In 236 List A matches, he amassed 4,567 runs at an average of 35.40, with 114 not out being the highest of his three centuries.
Behind the stumps, Pothas effected 659 dismissals in First-Class cricket and 264 in List A matches. His playing career spanned 18 years, from 1993 to 2011.
Post-retirement, Pothas got involved in coaching, and had a stint with the Sri Lanka senior men’s team, as Fielding Consultant and interim Head Coach.
He stepped down in 2017 after spending two years with the team.
“After two incredible years with Sri Lanka cricket, this is the right time for me to move on to other opportunities, which will allow me to spend quality time with my young family,” Pothas had said in a statement issued by Sri Lanka Cricket.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to be involved with Sri Lanka. It has given me the opportunity to learn and improve as a coach as well as to contribute to a very talented bunch of players. It will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Pothas subsequently took up the role of Fielding Coach of the West Indies unit. On the team’s recent ODI leg of the tour of India, the former South African international player gave his assessment of what he termed “a very young team.”
“It is a very young team. Not just from an international point of view, but a volume of 50-over cricket point of view. I think like anything, when you play at this level, whatever sport it might be, it’s always going to come down to execution over a long period of time.
“Our guys are learning all the time and they’re having to learn at international level, which is never easy. But they’re getting better all the time and importantly they’re open to that learning. We’re very positive.”
Pothas said it was important for the team to execute plans over longer periods if they are to beat top teams.
“We’ve seen that we can execute for short periods of time. The challenge is always going to be to execute over a 100 overs. If you’re going to beat India or England or Australia, Pakistan, you’ve got to execute for a 100 overs.”
Pothas, a former South African international himself, said the present West Indies team was a good fielding unit. “We put in a lot of detail of what to do in any of our skills. These guys, the last time I checked, they’re human beings not robots. So we’re going to make errors under pressure. That’s the nature of the game.”
Pothas was elevated to the role after Australian Stuart Law resigned to take up a role with England county side Middlesex. It was initially stated that Law’s resignation would take effect from January 2019 and his final series would have been against Bangladesh.