Sydney: Former Sri Lankan Test batsman Chandika Hathurusinghe has been appointed as the new coach of the Sydney Thunder in Australia's Big Bash League, the team said on Thursday. The former opener, who played 26 Tests for Sri Lanka, takes over from Shane Duff and faces the task of turning around the struggling franchise after two disastrous seasons in the domestic Twenty20 competition.
Hathurusinghe coached New South Wales in the second half of the Sheffield Shield season after the departure of Anthony Stuart. His appointment follows previous coaching stints in the United Arab Emirates and Canada, while he was Sri Lanka batting coach under Trevor Bayliss in 2009.
Hathurusinghe was also part of the coaching staff when the Sydney Sixers enjoyed their Champions League T20 success last year.
"I am delighted to have this opportunity," Hathurusinghe said in a statement. I am looking forward to the prospect of working with Michael Clarke to build a side that can challenge for the Big Bash League title. We are already looking at our playing list with a view towards finding the right balance in the squad."
The Thunder have already signalled their intention to sign Mike Hussey as a co-captain alongside Test skipper Clarke. Hathurusinghe said he hoped he could lure Sri Lanka stars, with reports linking Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan to the Thunder.