FORMER Sri Lankan Test batsman Chandika Hathurusinghe has been appointed as the new coach of the Sydney Thunder, the Big Bash League franchise announced on Thursday.
The former Test opener, who represented Sri Lanka 26 times, has been handed the onerous task of turning the struggling franchise into a competitive outfit after two disastrous seasons.
Hathurusinghe takes over from former coach Shane Duff. He coached NSW in the second half of the Sheffield Shield season after the departure of Anthony Stuart, and he has previously coached the UAE, formed part of the Canadian coaching team and was Sri Lanka batting coach under Bayliss in 2009.
He was also part of the coaching staff when the Sydney Sixers enjoyed their Champions League 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 is hopeful he can lure a number of Sri Lanka stars such as Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan to the Thunder.