COLOMBO – South African Mickey Arthur has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s head coach on a two-year contract, the country’s cricket board (SLC) said on Thursday.
The 51-year-old former first class cricketer has enjoyed a more illustrious career as a head coach with the national teams of South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.
SLC appointed former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake as interim coach in August after a fallout with head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who was criticised for Sri Lanka’s exit at the group stage of the 50-over World Cup in England.
"We are very happy and pleased that we have been able to obtain the services of Mickey," SLC secretary Mohan Silva told reporters. "He’s a well-known personality who has been the head coach of a number of countries."
SLC President Shammi Silva said Hathurusingha was no longer on the payroll of the board but did not provide further details.
Arthur was recently released from his short-term Twenty20 contract with New Zealand side Central Districts.
He took charge of a mercurial Pakistan side in 2016 and led them to the 2017 Champions Trophy victory in the 50-over format and the number one ranking in the world in both tests and twenty20 internationals.
Pakistan, however, decided not to renew Arthur’s contract following the team’s failure to reach the semi-finals of this year’s 50-over World Cup in England.
"It had been three very good years with Pakistan and I needed a little bit of time away. The Sri Lankan job became available and I started discussions," Arthur said.
"I looked at the talent that’s available and that’s the key motivating factor … to help these young players fulfil their potential."
In his first assignment as Sri Lanka coach, Arthur will return to Pakistan this month for the two-match test series, starting from Dec. 11.
Zimbabwean Grant Flower will join his support staff as the batting coach while Australians David Saker and Shane McDermott will be the bowling coach and the fielding coach respectively, the SLC added.