Australia appoint Thilan Samaraweera as batting consultant
Australia appoint Thilan Samaraweera as batting consultant

Looks like Australia have already started their preparations for next month’s Sri Lanka tour as Cricket Australia appointed Thilan Samaraweera, former Lankan cricketer with 81 Tests and 5,462 runs at an average of 46.92 and 15 wickets, as a consultant coach.

Samaraweera, who now lives in Melbourne, will work initially with the next generation in the National Performance Squad and in the pathway program, with a focus on batting and  Australia’s Test squad members were excited to tap up the Sri Lankan for inside knowledge while he’s at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.

Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, and Jackson Bird are the latest batch of Australian players who will tour Sri Lanka, headed to the NCC facilities in order to fine-tune their preparations in the Sunshine State. Spinner Stephen O’Keefe, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and batsman Joe Burns, who lives in Brisbane, all were regularly taking a class at the facilities while the one-day team was winning the Caribbean tri-series.

“We’re up in Brisbane for the week to do our training here, get outdoors, have a hit on the turf and really start the preparation for Sri Lanka,” Marsh said.

“I’ve had a hit on the spin wicket here and it’s very good, very similar to what you get on the subcontinent and it was a challenging net session.

“Samaraweera was throwing a few offies as well, and it’s been really good to chat to him and get a bit of an insight into the sort of conditions we’ll be facing in the next couple of months.

“He’s been helping with advice on how to play spin, he’s good to chat about that with and get his views.”

Samaraweera despite having not so much fond memories in Australia during his playing career, at home enjoyed a rock-solid role in Sri Lanka’s middle order.

He played 45 Tests at home for the Lankans, averaging 53.84 with eight centuries and 18 fifties, playing further 15 Tests on the subcontinent mainland, the highlight of his career came in 2009 when he scored double-centuries against Pakistan in consecutive Tests.

Unfortunately, his lowest point soon followed, when he was shot in the left thigh when terrorists attacked Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore. He returned to Test cricket four months later, adding another five hundreds to his name before retiring in 2013.

With that wealth of cricket knowledge in sub-continent, it’s little surprise the Australians are so keen to tap into Samaraweera’s expertise.

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