‘Remember you are representing a proud cricketing nation’


New coach Arthur’s words to Sri Lankan players


by Rex Clementine

New Head Coach Mickey Arthur has highlighted excellence in the ongoing World Test Championship and next year’s T-20 World Cup as his key targets soon after assuming duties at Sri Lanka Cricket Headquarters yesterday.

Arthur, a former South African First Class cricketer, is into his fourth international coaching job right now having had previous stints with South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

"We are sitting on a World Test Championship. Then the World T-20 is on in Australia next year. Every time we are on the field, we need to remember that we are representing a proud cricketing nation. We want to win every game we play. My role is to see guys develop. That is very exciting for me," Arthur, who is now an Australian citizen told journalists yesterday.

"We can not put a team together a month before the World T-20. That tour of India where we will play three T-20s in January is going to be crucial. We have about eight months from thereon. We need to get a brand that we think is going to be successful in Australia. Then we need to get the players and give them constant opportunities and persevere with them. Australia is tough as the conditions are very different," Arthur explained.

Arthur is no stranger to Sri Lanka having visited the island several times during his coaching stints with other international teams. He was addressing the media briefing with the Sinhalese Sports Club ground scoreboard as the backdrop. Most South Africans would get nightmares looking at the SSC scoreboard as it was here in 2006 Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene posted a World Record 624 runs. Arthur was South Africa’s coach at that point.

"What comes to my mind is sitting in that changing room and watching Sanga and Mahela putting on 624 runs. I remember South African team coming off and getting drips put into their arms at lunch time," Arthur remembered.

Arthur appreciates the cricketing talent that he sees in Sri Lanka.

"The thing that really attracted me was the talent that is available. That is the key motivating factor. I was out there at training this morning and the talent that we have is outstanding. For me, the job is how to use that talent."

"We sat down yesterday and looked at the structure. It is is very exciting. We have not spoken about performances yet. I am realistic and I have been in international cricket for long enough and I know the currency is wins. Why I prefer coaching international teams to coaching T-20 leagues is that you set up a programme for 12 months of a year. Instead of working on T-20 leagues for one month and then move on for the next league. I really enjoy building relationships with players and then watching them becoming better and better."

Arthur is on a two year contract. Former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower joins as Batting Coach and will oversee the ‘A’ team too. David Sekar, who has been Bowling Coach with Australia and England will join as Bowling Coach while Shane McDermott takes over as Fielding Coach. Tim McCaskil takes over as the Head of High Performance Center, a position vacated by Asanka Gurusinha.

Jerome Jayaratne returns to coaching from administrative work taking over as Chief Cricket Operations Officer.

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