Sri Lanka cricket coach Mickey Arthur is currently spending his time in the 'Emerald Isles', even though there are no cricketing activities in sight due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, even Sri Lanka’s home Test series against England in March was called off as a security measure for players and supporters. As the threat of coronavirus continues to loom on, Mickey Arthur celebrated a quiet birthday on Sunday, May 17 with former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara.
Mickey Arthur recently gave an interview to ESPNCricinfo. In the interview, the South African domestic cricket veteran was asked if had set any 'homework' assignment for the Sri Lanka players. One can presume that the question was a subtle dig at Mickey Arthur’s coaching tenure with the Australian cricket team from 2010 to 2013, when several Australian players were impacted by the “Mickey Arthur Homework gate”. The coach laughingly responded that he did set up an assignment for the players by asking them to draw up a SWOT analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. The 52-year old revealed that he has asked each player to list down what they are good at and what areas they feel to improve.
Mickey Arthur was Australia’s coach when Michael Clarke and co. toured India in 2013 for a four-match Test series. Australia's performance was heavily scrutinised as they conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by losing the series by being whitewashed 0-4. After Australia had lost the second Test by an innings and 135 runs, Mickey Arthur handed the entire team an assignment of writing down ways in which they believe they can improve their performances, similar to what he has given Sri Lanka at present.
Several Australian players, namely Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja failed to submit their assignments before the stipulated time. As a result, the aforementioned players were handed a one-match suspension by the team management. Australia’s vice-captain at the time, Shane Watson, flew back to Sydney ahead of the third Test only to return once again to play the final match of the series. The entire episode, which rocked Australian cricket back then, became known as the 'Mickey Arthur Homework gate' by many cricket lovers.