Sri Lankan cricket team coach Mickey Arthur feels that creating the “right environment for players” is the best way to ensure they perform well consistently.
Currently in the UAE for the ICC T20 World Cup with his squad, the South African added that every player is different and each one of them should be handled differently.
“I think first of all you’ve got to understand it’s about the players. The environment is about the players and you’re there to create that environment for them. And then, every player is different, and you’ve got to treat every player different.”
Touted as a coach throughout his playing days, Arthur has always exhibited the virtues of the profession. Clear in communication and meticulous in detail, Arthur’s emotions in the stands or in the dugout are there for everyone to see, as he lives the ups and downs of international cricket almost alongside his players.
As former champions Sri Lanka begin their Group matches at the T20 World Cup, Arthur says that he was always passionate about cricket and loved the intensity of guiding top sides in big events.
“I love the passion. I love the intensity of it. I love riding that emotional wave. Some people say coaches should be stoney-faced and just sit there. It’s not my character. I can’t do that. I love the journey. I love the drive,” Arthur told icc-cricket.com ahead Sri Lanka’s Group stage match against Namibia on October 18.
The Sri Lankan job is Arthur’s fourth international role across a 16-year international coaching career, a span now longer than his time as a professional player. Compiling over 10,000 runs across South African domestic cricket and representing South Africa A, Arthur transitioned to coaching younger than most. Early domestic success followed, and an offer to coach South Africa was forthcoming.
He experienced a baptism of fire, facing an Australian side still at the peak of their powers, though his class shone through, ending a 43-year drought with a Test series win over England, and eventually beating Australia in a Test series away from home. Arthur then became Australia’s first foreign head coach, before winning the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy with Pakistan. He was appointed Sri Lankan head coach in February.
For Arthur, to meet the high expectations of the job and winning as a team, he knows it’s imperative that plans are put in place to allow players to find their own path to winning individual battles on the field.
“There’s not a one-size-fits-all here in this job and you’ve got to get in and have that connection with every one of your players in order to get the best out of them. The most important thing for me though is seeing player development. Seeing young guys come into your system, seeing them develop and then seeing them be successful at international level.”
“There’s no better feeling in the world for a coach than having had a small impact in that player’s development.”
Arthur believes that one result does not make or break a team, and defeat brings with it lessons.
“Out of defeat there’s a lot of learnings. There’s always going to be one side that wins and there’s going to be one side that loses, you’ve just got to make sure that you win a little bit more often than you lose. But all I want to know is that the boys are learning, that they’re going in the right direction and they’re getting better and better.”