Former Australia bowler Jason Gillespie has explained his continued success as First Team Coach at Yorkshire, telling The Daily Mail that he has a vision “for the improvement of English cricket”.
And while it may sound strange to hear a man who was once among England’s Ashes rivals hoping to improve his home nation’s nemesis, he looks just as comfortable following his transition into coaching since retirement.
At Yorkshire, he will be viewed by the ECB as being in a crucial position for the development of a number of England hopefuls. Gillespie rightly has high hopes for the White Rose’s wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, whom he predicts could one day reach the lofty heights that Adam Gilchrist achieved in international cricket.
Bairstow, of course, is not alone in the Yorkshire dressing room in waiting for the call from new England head coach Peter Moores. A little higher up the order wait Joe Root and Gary Ballance, the former of which is almost a certainty to play a part in the summer series against Sri Lanka and India.
Ballance hit a century against Middlesex in the County Championship, and whether he is called up for England may indeed be the deciding factor as to whether Yorkshire are successful in their push for the title, even if opener Adam Lyth continues his impressive form.
Like Ballance, leg-spinner Adil Rashid has been linked with an England call-up, despite having struggled for the national side in the past. Much has changed, though, as England’s spin attack is now crying out for a new face after Graeme Swann called time on his international career in the middle of the winter Ashes, as soon as it became clear the series was lost.
Gillespie insists that the hit and miss nature of their games with England is part of the problem, and players like Ballance and Rashid need two or three series to slot into the England fold more naturally – rather than two or three matches.
Former seamer Gillespie knows the profits and pitfalls of the international game, and having played a part in several Ashes series he will be well aware of the psychological sturdiness needed to endure defeat, particularly in the manner it was inflicted upon England. Concern has been voiced over the close-season about how England’s humiliation will affect Joe Root, who was left out of the fifth Test Down Under, but Gillespie is confident any knock to his confidence is now in the past.
Having taken time out with a broken thumb suffered in the West Indies, Root is now looking comfortable again at the crease, scoring 63 at Lord’s, despite being out for a duck in the first innings.
Gillespie’s brash influence is sure to instil confidence in his troops, though, but as a staunchly patriotic Australian he may live to regret his influence come the next Ashes in England.
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