Colombo: Sri Lanka cricketers have poured in emotional messages on social media after Mickey Arthur announced his decision to relinquish his post as the chief coach.

Arthur, whose last assignment with the Sri Lankan team is a two-Test series against the West Indies beginning from November 21, will move to English County side Derbyshire to guide the club.

The Sri Lanka Test team captain, Dimuth Karunaratne hailed Arthur as the most hardworking and supportive coach after it was announced he will leave his role with Sri Lanka after their series against West Indies.

Karunaratne posted a picture with Arthur on Twitter, “You made us believe in ourselves. No one could guide us more successfully than you. We are sad to say goodbye to the most hardworking and supportive coach I have ever met. Thank you for being an amazing leader. Goodbye and best of luck with @DerbyshireCCC.”

Karunaratne’s reply came after Arthur tweeted an emotional message about the Sri Lanka job. “Sad that it is the end of the road with SL after the WI Test series! I have loved every minute of coaching this great Country! To the players and people of SL a big thank you! I know SL cricket is in a better place now than when I started!”

Wanindu De Silva too wrote an emotional message about Arthur. He Tweeted, “Thank you @Mickeyarthurcr1, for believing, supporting, nurturing, and encouraging me throughout this whole period.”

“You are not just a coach. You are a great gentleman and a true lover of the game. We will miss your passion and high spirits,” he wrote.

At Derbyshire, Arthur will replace Zimbabwean tactician Dave Houghton, who has decided to leave the County side at the end of the 2021 season.

Arthur, who was appointed Sri Lanka coach in February 2020, termed his new assignment as an “exciting project” and a “new challenge”.

“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,” said Arthur, whose last assignment with the Sri Lankan team is a two-Test series against the West Indies beginning November 21.

“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,” he added.