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News

Lisa Keightley joins WBBL side Sydney Thunder as head coach

Keightley, replacing Trevor Griffin, has signed a three-year deal

Lisa Keightley has worked with the Australia and England national teams in the past  •  Getty Images

Lisa Keightley has worked with the Australia and England national teams in the past  •  Getty Images

Lisa Keightley has signed with WBBL side Sydney Thunder as their head coach for the next three seasons. A highly decorated coach, Keightley takes over from Trevor Griffin, who was the coach when Thunder won the WBBL title in the 2020-21 season, the second time they had won the WBBL.
"I know Sydney Thunder has a good history, and it has won two titles [they also won the inaugural edition in 2015-16]," Keightley said in a statement released by Thunder. "There's also a good group of players who have enjoyed success.
"When I say it's a challenge, it's in the sense of the team having a couple of seasons where they'd want to be. I'll be making sure we're competitive and winning games of cricket. Thunder has a core of players who have played for a number of years and have enjoyed success. I'm hoping it won't take too much."
Keightley played nine Tests, 82 ODIs and one T20I for Australia between 1995 and 2005. After retiring as a player, she has coached the Australia national team - the first woman to do so - and the England national team, and has also worked with New South Wales, Western Australia, and Perth Scorchers.
The first woman to score an international century at Lord's, in an ODI against England in 1998, and also the owner of the second-highest individual score by an Australian in an ODI - 156* vs Pakistan in 1997 - is currently in South Africa as the tactical performance coach for Paarl Royals, the domestic T20 team.

Phoebe Litchfield, Hannah Darlington are with Thunder

At Thunder, she would be working with, among others, two of Australia's brightest young cricketers, Phoebe Litchfield and Hannah Darlington.
"Hannah Darlington has had success, as has Phoebe Litchfield," Keightley said. "Tahlia Wilson has been playing in [the NSW WNCL team] consistently over the years, and she'll be looking to improve and have an impact.
"I look at other players and see Sammy-Jo Johnson as a seasoned campaigner who is probably a little disappointed in how she played this year. However, she's had success in the past, so I can see no reason why that can't be turned around.
"Then you have the likes of Lauren Smith, another player who has played for a number of years and had success throughout the WBBL. It's a matter of, to me, some overseas players being in and around the quality that we've got, and then playing some consistent cricket."
Keightley said her focus was to create a unique brand of cricket while at Thunder.
"I'm looking forward to connecting with the players, especially the Sydney-based ones to make sure when we go into that competition it doesn't feel new," she said. "I'm looking forward to helping them and discussing their games and where they'd like to be. I want to share my observations of how they're playing, and maybe, the areas where they can grow, learn and stretch.
"I think that would be a good transition to make during the year, rather than coming in two weeks before the WBBL. I think that's the nice bit of the challenge; knowing when we play in the WBBL that they're clear about the brand of cricket we want to play."