'I looked at the talent and that is the key motivating factor' - Mickey Arthur
Mickey Arthur has deemed Sri Lanka's level of talent as the main reason which prompted him to apply for the vacant head coach position.
The 51-year-old South African was officially unveiled as the new Sri Lanka coach on Thursday ahead of the two-Test series in Pakistan starting next week.
Arthur, addressing reporters in Colombo following his first interaction with the players, admitted the country's cricketers required guidance to hone their skills and maximise their potential.
“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,” he said.
"I looked at the talent and that is the key motivating factor."
"The amount of talent they have is great, but it is teaching them how to use that talent and when to use it."
Sri Lanka, ranked sixth and eighth in Tests and ODIs respectively, endured a disappointing World Cup campaign that led to the axing of previous coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
The island nation has failed to settle on a stable unit in the face of frequent defeats and Arthur spoke on the importance of persisting with a core group of players to get the desired outcomes.
“For me, the key is just getting the guys to develop. It’s about getting a consistent core group of players that can compete at the highest level and then watching them grow is going to be really exciting.”
Arthur, whose contract with Sri Lanka's cricket board is expected to last two years, will be joined by Grant Flower, David Saker and Shane McDermott to complete a holistic coaching staff overhaul after the 50-over showpiece event.
'Success will be seeing Kusal Mendis become the best in the world'
Arthur dismissed all doubts of a possible stormy relationship with SLC in light of the board's bitter association with Hathurusingha.
SLC is still involved in an ongoing tussle with Hathurusingha with the latter refusing to step down despite being sidelined for several months.
The board indicated more details regarding the feud with Hathurusingha will be revealed next week.
Meanwhile, Arthur looked forward to a productive stint with Sri Lanka barring the past controversies and hoped to see the likes of Kusal Mendis and Lahiru Kumara excel in their forte.
“What has happened in the past is the past. I know that if I perform my role to the best of my abilities, we’ll have longevity and success here."
"And the success will be seeing Kusal Mendis become one of the best players in the world, it will be seeing [Lahiru] Kumara becoming one of the best bowlers in the world.
"If I can get those players believing in themselves and getting better, that’s all I am worried about. Because that will ultimately lead to wins and good performances.”
"I’ve been in the international cricket world for a long time and I believe the currency is wins. Excellence is my mantra, we will train like the best in the world. Because if we don’t do that, we will start lagging behind," Arthur added.
SLC secretary Mohan de Silva affirmed Arthur's experience in Asia would help lift the team to a "very high standard".