(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Mickey Arthur will join Derbyshire CCC as its head of cricket at the end of Sri Lanka’s upcoming two-Test series at home against West Indies, which runs from November 21 to December 3.
His contract with Sri Lanka Cricket was due to expire at the end of the West Indies series anyway. While Arthur had repeatedly expressed a strong desire to extend this stay, SLC is understood to have been largely unresponsive; there has not been a disagreement over pay, and Arthur may have stayed on if SLC had offered him the same package as before.
“This is the start of an exciting project at Derbyshire, with many young players, and I’m really excited to be a part of that and to bring my vision to the Club. It’s a new challenge and one which I’m eager to get stuck into and lead this Club to success,” Arthur said in a statement issued by the county. “There’s a good squad at Derbyshire and I want us to play a positive style of cricket, we won’t fear any team and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve for our supporters.”
Arthur’s exit could be part of a substantial shake-up for Sri Lanka, with several of the coaches attached to the men’s national side expected to have to reapply for their roles. Batting coach Grant Flower, bowling coach Chaminda Vaas, and fielding coach Shane McDermott are all understood to be facing uncertain futures.
This also means that SLC has now blown through seven head coach appointments in the space of ten years, with Geoff Marsh, Graham Ford (in two separate stints), Paul Farbrace, Marvan Atapattu, Chandika Hathurusingha and now Arthur having held the role since 2012. Arthur at least served out his contract; Marsh, Farbrace, Ford (in his second stint), Atapattu, and Hathurusingha didn’t.
Arthur, a well-travelled coach who has worked with the national men’s teams of Australia, South Africa and Pakistan, apart from Sri Lanka, will replace Dave Houghton at Derbyshire, with Houghton, the former Zimbabwe captain, having left the club earlier this year to take up a position as coaching manager with Zimbabwe Cricket.
Derbyshire chairman Ian Morgan said of the new appointment, “Mickey is one of the most highly-regarded coaches in world cricket and this is a key appointment for the Club ahead of an important winter period.
“Throughout this recruitment process, Mickey has understood our heritage as a county, but also matched our ambition with a desire to make a positive impact at Derbyshire.
“We want to move forward from last season. We’ve got a talented group of players and with a new Head of Cricket bringing a fresh approach, it is an exciting time for our Members and supporters.”
Arthur’s stint with Sri Lanka was split by the pandemic, during which he remained in Sri Lanka throughout, in order to work with the team when possible. There were mixed results under him, but also a strong focus on youth and regeneration – a tactic that seemed to be bearing fruit over the past few months.
Allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga, in particular, grew into a match-winning limited-overs player over the past two years. There was also the resurgence of fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera, and most recently, the emergence of Charith Asalanka, in limited-overs cricket.