Sri Lanka in India

The bottomline is we are here to play a Test match: Nic Pothas wants to end pollution debate

Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas weighs in on the discussion on pollution that has affected the Delhi Test.

Sri Lanka coach Nic Pothas on Tuesday said that his players’ “discomfort (owing to pollution) speaks for itself” and wondered why the state cricket body, Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), sent a local doctor to test their players.

A doctor from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) arranged by the DDCA tested a few Sri Lankan players and then came to the media lounge claiming that all is well with them. A few hours later, he retracted his statement requesting all not to quote him.

When Pothas was asked whether the claim made by the doctor was correct, he replied: “There were some tests done. I have no idea what they were so it doesn’t tell you we saw. At the end of the day, (Mohammed) Shami was also struggling. Our guys did superbly well to deal with the situation.”

“I have no idea what these tests tell you, what we are testing and why we are testing, it doesn’t make anything get away,” Pothas said.

READ: ‘There’s pollution in Delhi, but if you’re assigned a job, you have to do it,’ says Dhawan

Asked about Suranga Lakmal, who threw up in the morning after bowling his first spell, Pothas said: “He didn’t feel very well and came off a little bit of steam. It’s not easy.”

“The bottomline is we are here to play a Test match. We decided at practice this morning that we are not going to discuss it and not going to talk about it. Our people are in discomfort and it speaks for itself. The rest we cannot control and no use talking about it.”

READ: Should Delhi be struck off the international venues list?

A section of Indian fans has been very critical on social media about the Sri Lankan players wearing anti-pollution masks while fielding and feeling no discomfort while batting.

“Russell Arnold’s reply to that is the best I have ever seen. Some people wear sunglasses when they field and people don’t when they bat – to each his own. If you read some medical reports in newspapers from some experts around India it will answer your question,” he said.

‘Wonder if it’s a coincidence to lose wickets in fading light’

In both the innings during the New Delhi Test, Sri Lanka have lost a wicket to a pacer in fading light, prompting the umpires to check the light, after which the spinners struck twice.

Pothas wondered if this was a “mere coincidence” while making it clear that he backed the umpire’s decision.

On Monday, during the final session, Sadeera Samarawickrama, who was well-set at that point, was dismissed by Ishant Sharma.

The umpires immediately found the light not good enough for pacers to continue and spinners were employed by Virat Kohli. Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed debutant Roshan Silva and Niroshan Dickwella in quick succession and Sri Lanka were reduced to 322 for seven from a comfortable 317 for four.

On Tuesday Mohammed Shami dismissed Samarawickrama with a bouncer and after that Ravindra Jadeja struck twice in fading light.

“It was not ideal to lose three wickets. I am wondering whether it’s a coincidence that we lose a wicket to a seam bowler and all of a sudden the light turns bad and we lose two more wickets to spin. It just comes off bit of a coincidence, I would have thought,” Pothas said.

Probably not wanting to fall foul with the match referee, Pothas then said that he backed the umpire’s decision to take out light meters.

“I am sure the light meter is absolutely spot on. I have no doubt but to me it looked too much of a coincidence to lose a wicket and to find that suddenly it’s too dark for the seamers!”

“And then, we lose two wickets to spin and then it’s too dark and we are off. Can it deteriorate that quick? I don’t know. There is nothing to discuss. I back the decision,” he said.

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