Gillespie stays on but suitors will still circle

YORKSHIRE coach Jason Gillespie ended all speculation, for now at least, by confirming that he will not be leaving Headingley to take a role with Cricket Australia.

We say for now because the 41-year-old clearly has the talent to progress into the international coaching ranks having led Yorkshire to back-to-back County Championship titles.

In fact, before this week’s Roses clash against Lancashire, the former Australia fast bowler had lost just four of his 69 four-day games in charge of Yorkshire so there’s plenty of knowledge and a certain winning mentality.

Gillespie had been linked with the bowling coach role Down Under and met Australia coach Darren Lehmann but he was not offered a job in his homeland.

Gillespie said: “Darren Lehmann, a while back on Australian radio, mentioned that he’d be keen to have me back in the Australian system. There was always going to be speculation in light of what he said.

“What I can confirm is that I caught up with him, he came to our place. We went and had a meal and a chat.

“He mentioned that there is a role coming up in Australian cricket, but I want to make it very clear there was no job offer from Darren. It was merely gauging interest.

“We talked about all sorts of things, and the subject came up. I said, ‘thanks for the chat, I really appreciate it, I’ll talk to you tomorrow’.

“We left it at that, and I then informed him that I’m not going to put my name forward – I’m not going to apply for a role at Cricket Australia. We can end all the speculation right now.”

The appeal for the former Test bowler to return home comes from five years in charge of Yorkshire’s first team that began with immediate promotion to Division One before lifting the trophy in 2014 and 2015.

While fans of Yorkshire will rightly be rejoicing that their man is staying, the happiness should be felt up and down England.

Gillespie has changed the landscape of cricket in this country, and was even touted for the England head coach job following the departure of Peter Moores last spring. Trevor Bayliss got the nod for it on that occasion, but who’s to say the man known affectionately as ‘Dizzy’ isn’t next in line?

Since England were knocked out of the 50-over World Cup last year, a lot of talk has been made of the brand of cricket they play. Now showing a more aggressive and attacking approach, it’s a leaf out of Gillespie’s book.

Arguably a style learned in the Big Bash, where Gillespie coaches Adelaide Strikers, leading them to the top of the group in the most recent tournament, it’s one that has stayed with him at Headingley.

Yes, there is an abundance of talent coming through the Yorkshire ranks but these lads still need coaching and the mentality has to be right. Gillespie has ensured the Tykes go into every game confident of getting a result, and it’s not often you see the reigning champions go into Brigadier Block mode to battle for a draw.

Gillespie added: “For me, I’m a very young coach and still learning a lot. I know I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’m enjoying my roles at this moment in time.

“There has been a lot of media speculation and assumptions, but I want to put it to bed that I’ve applied for any international cricket roles.

“What you can’t hide from is that in international cricket, there’s a lot of travel. And is it fair to put my family under that sort of pressure and be away?

“I’ve got a wonderfully supportive wife, and my kids are a delight. I’ve actually put them through a lot. I moved to Zimbabwe when the kids were very young. I had a wonderful experience there. Now I’m in England.

“I’ve had great support from my family. It’s a wonderful support to have.

“As a family, you’ve got to do what you think is right. First and foremost, I’m a father and a husband. Then there is some distance between that and my professional life as a cricket coach.”

So while it’s a No for now, the calls are sure to be continuing to pour in for Gillespie. Surely fans of county cricket and of the game in this country will be hoping the answer remains No for a few more years to come.

The name Jason Gillespie will always be in the frame though for any international job that comes up and he’s bound to be the prime candidate for either England or Australia when that time comes.

Will he want to follow Bayliss in becoming an Australian coach of England though? Or will he only take charge of his homeland?

Either way, he deserves a shot at the big stage when he so chooses to take it.

This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, Friday June 3 2016

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