Sri Lanka interim head coach Nic Pothas has compared Virat Kohli and his men to New Zealand’s All Blacks, who are perhaps the most successful rugby team in the world and are the defending World Champions in rugby.
India were absolutely clinical on the Sri Lanka Tour, wherein they won all the nine international matches, which included a 3-0 Test series whitewash, a 5-0 ODI series whitewash and a comfortable win the lone T20I.
And it was none other than ‘chasemaster’ Kohli who rubbed salts on the wounds of the Sri Lanka in the last match of the tour on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old came out with a Man of the Match performance and scored a stupendous knock as India defeated Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the R. Premdasa Stadium.
With the Indian skipper scoring 82 from 54 balls and Pandey making 51 not out from 36 deliveries, the visiting side reached 174 for 3 from 19.2 overs in response to Sri Lanka’s 170 for 7 from 20 overs, taking the series tally to 9-0.
Speaking after the match at the post-match press conference, Pothas heaped praise on Kohli and his boys and said: “You look at their team and they are very All Black-like.”
It should be noted that rugby is a huge sport in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and these teams often compete in tri-nation series.
“There’s a lot of respect for the facilities and there’s 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,” he added.
Calling Kohli a “role model”, the Sri Lanka head coach said the Indian skipper has created a culture within the team which is “very very impressive”.
“You see how Virat runs between the wickets, and you see the respect he commands on the field as a leader – he’s a role model to people and he pulls people with him,” said Pothas.
“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,” he added.
Pothas, while admitting that his side are a one which is developing, need to learn from their mistakes.
“We are a side that’s developing. They are a side that are complete. So, you have to look at the quality that they have in their side. It’s a side with immense quality. So, it’s always going to be tough to compete against them or try to beat them,” said the South African.
This was only the second instance of a side sweeping its opponent in all three formats in a series. Australia had beaten Pakistan in 2009-10 across three Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20I.