New Sri Lanka coach discovers a cricketing gold mine | Sunday Observer

New Sri Lanka coach discovers a cricketing gold mine

8 December, 2019
Mickey Arthur
Mickey Arthur

Thirteen years ago Mickey Arthur encountered a hell hole in Sri Lanka when his South African cricket team was crushed under the might of a Mehela Jayawardena-Kumar Sangakkara partnership of 624 runs.

But times have changed for the born-again coach as he immediately struck gold in the form of a truckload of Sri Lankan cricketers at his second coming that will be his property for the next two years while the country looks for a reawakening of the team’s fortunes that have taken a beating over the past 24 months.

“There seems to be a group of about 40 players (almost four teams) that can play internationally and play consistently,” Arthur declared just hours after landing in Colombo. “It will take some time to get my style into how we want to play.”

Every move that Arthur makes and every word that he utters will be closely watched by his employer in Sri Lanka but nothing will be able to stir him up any better than the excitement of delving into his new found paradise.

His presence could mean some of the big names who are in the team only because of their exalted status might have to kiss their bats and balls good-bye while making way for the next generation of players.

“I saw them (Sri Lanka players) at close quarters and I was very impressed with what I saw,” said Arthur.

The Sri Lankan team is scheduled to leave for Pakistan today for a two-Test series but Arthur will take charge of the players next month on a tour of India where results are not likely to come on a platter.

The enlistment of Arthur probably brings to an end the saga of his predecessor Chandika Hathuusinha who has been sidelined from the job after some disastrous results that could not match his contractual requirements and Sri Lanka Cricket having burnt its fingers will be treading a cautious path with the new coach.

“You got to give Mickey his time and space for us to get back to our winning ways and get our act together,” said Chief Cricket Operations Officer Jerome Jayaratne who is one of the architects of what is being called “Structural Changes” where a stable has been put in place before the arrival of the horse which was the other way around with Hathurusinha. In the new set-up Arthur will be working as the Consultant Head Coach with former Zimbabwe batsman Andy Flower to step in as the second in command making it a combination that the two men will see as just the formula to take the players forward.

“Everything I have seen so far has been very outstanding. It’s a very exciting structure, pretty unique in world cricket and I am just excited,” said Arthur.