The Sydney Thunder today continued their re-building process towards next season’s Big Bash, with the signing of NSW SpeedBlitz Blues Assistant Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe as the team’s Head Coach.
Hathurusinghe, who coached the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues for the second half of last season after the departure of Anthony Stuart, will head up a re-charged Thunder outfit that is chasing the services of star batsman Mike Hussey to play alongside current Australian captain, Michael Clarke.
The 44 year-old Sri Lankan coach represented his country in 26 Test matches as an opening batsman, before moving into the coaching arena. He was Head Coach of the UAE and part of the Canadian coaching team, before becoming the Sri Lankan batting coach under Trevor Bayliss in 2009. More recently, Hathurusinghe was part of the Sydney Sixers coaching staff that led the side to victory in the Champions League last October.
Having taken over the NSW SpeedBlitz Blues last season after the departure of coach Anthony Stuart at Xmas, Hathurusinghe oversaw a revival that saw the team lose only one of their final five matches in the Bupa Sheffield Shield to narrowly miss out on the final of the competition by a solitary point. The side also won three out of their last four Ryobi Cup matches.
Hathurusinghe, is excited at the prospect of coaching the Thunder: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to coach the Sydney Thunder this coming season and looking forward to the prospect of working with Michael Clarke to build a side that can challenge for the KFC Big Bash League title. We are already looking at our playing list with a view towards finding the right balance in the squad and I am hoping to be able to speak to a number of Sri Lankan players regarding their availability for the Thunder next season. There is no doubt that the whole of Western Sydney is looking forward to seeing the Thunder play to their potential and we want our supporters to bring that passion to ANZ Stadium and be part of a winning team.”
With Hathurusinghe, taking the reins at the Thunder, Trevor Bayliss will continue as Head Coach of the Sydney Sixers. Bayliss, who is currently in India coaching the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, will continue his successful role with the Sixers, having led them to victory in the inaugural KFC T20 Big Bash League.