Thunder part ways with coach Upton

Sydney Thunder on the hunt for a new coach, parting ways with Paddy Upton after four years in charge

Martin Smith

14 February 2018, 02:07 PM AEST

Sydney Thunder have parted ways with coach Paddy Upton after the club failed to reach the KFC Big Bash finals in each of the past two seasons.

Upton guided the Thunder to their maiden title in BBL|05, but a last-placed finish in BBL|06 and a sixth-place finish this year and seen him depart the club.

"Paddy has been a very important part of Sydney Thunder and the history of our club,” said Sydney Thunder General Manager Lee Germon.

"Following a comprehensive review of our playing roster, facilities and support staff, the club will now work with Cricket NSW to deliver a strategy to maximise our player pathways specifically for T20 cricket."

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The Thunder won the opening game of BBL|07 against cross-town rivals the Sixers but lost four of their next five games. A late-season resurgence meant they remained in the hunt for the final four heading into their last group match against Melbourne Renegades in Canberra, but a defeat there saw them finish the season with four wins from 10 games.

Upton was also sacked as coach of IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils last November, with Australia great Ricky Ponting taking on that role for 2018.

"It was a real privilege to have the opportunity to coach Thunder as they sought to move off the bottom of the table in 2013, and to grow with the team over the next four years," Upton said in a statement.

"I wish Thunder well as they begin their next chapter under new leadership."

Skipper Shane Watson was a rare bright spot for the Thunder in BBL|07, scoring 331 runs to finish as the tournament's fifth-highest run-getter. Apart from English import Jos Buttler, who impressed in the six games he played before departing for international duty, no other Thunder player finished the season with more than 200 runs.

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Fawad Ahmed (12 wickets at 20) was a standout with the ball, but import Mitchell McCleneghan finished the tournament with 11 wickets at an economy rate of 9.17, one of the highest in the tournament.

The Thunder's campaign was no doubt hurt by the absence of star players Usman Khawaja (three games) and Pat Cummins (did not play) for most of the season.