FORMER Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie is to become Yorkshire’s new first-team coach.
Gillespie will work closely with director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon as part of a radical shake-up of Yorkshire’s coaching operation.
Ashes winner Gillespie, 36, will mentor and develop Yorkshire’s bowlers as well as provide assistance to Moxon on all cricketing matters.
His capture represents a major coup for the club as they look to bounce back from County Championship relegation.
Gillespie effectively replaces former Yorkshire and England all-rounder Craig White, who chose not to reapply for his post as first-team coach as he wants to pursue his ambition to become an international umpire.
The five coaches working beneath Moxon were each invited to reapply for their jobs at the end of last season in a restructuring exercise that saw them fighting for four new positions.
As revealed in yesterday’s Yorkshire Post, Academy director/bowling coach Steve Oldham, batting coach Kevin Sharp and second team coach/assistant bowling coach John Blain have also left the club after they were unsuccessful in their attempts to land a role in the new set-up.
The club will shortly announce a new second-team coach along with a development manager who will report to new director of cricket development Ian Dews, who is the only member of the existing set-up to have been retained having previously served as operations manager.
Gillespie, who played for Yorkshire in 2006 and 2007, will return to the club with an excellent coaching pedigree built up since he retired from professional cricket in 2008.
He is currently head coach of Mid West Rhinos, the Zimbabwean franchise for whom Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance is a key figure.
Gillespie has earned a positive reputation for his work with the young team, which follows on from his involvement in Cricket Australia’s elite coach development program that began in 2008.
Gillespie has also had coaching roles with Australia A and Indian Premier League side Kings XI Punjab.
He is understood to view his return to Yorkshire as the perfect opportunity to continue his development.
In a recent interview in Australia, Gillespie outlined his coaching philosophy.
“I coach with a bit of a gut feel,” he declared. “I like talking to the players just as people and not specifically in terms of a coach-to-player relationship.
“There are times when you need to be firm and lay down the law, but, by and large, we’re all in the business of trying to improve.
“I try to trust my instinct rather than try and be seen to be doing the right things by the coaching manual.”
Gillespie added he was particularly grateful for the support of his family following his decision to stay in the game he has graced with distinction.
“When I said that I wanted to give coaching a go, I’m not sure what my wife, Anna, really thought of it, but she has supported me 100 per cent,” he added.
“I’ll never forget, pretty early in the piece in Zimbabwe, coming home from a day’s play and we were sitting on the couch chatting.
“Anna saw I had this big grin on my face and said, ‘You love what you’re doing, don’t you?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I really do.’
“That’s when it hit home for me, that I was doing something I really love doing.”
Gillespie’s appointment represents an exciting one not only for himself but also Yorkshire’s supporters, who took him to their hearts when he played for the county.
The second of those seasons saw him work under Moxon, who rejoined the club in 2007 and who is a known admirer of Gillespie’s qualities.
In 61 games in all cricket for Yorkshire, Gillespie captured 94 wickets at 32.29 and scored 683 runs at 24.39.
His top score was an innings of 123 against Surrey at the Oval in Moxon’s first match in charge and came a year after Gillespie famously recorded the highest Test score by a nightwatchman – 201 not out against Bangladesh in Chittagong.
Gillespie, who often signs his name “Dizzy 201” in recognition of that historic innings, is a popular figure with players and supporters.
He always made time for the members when he played for Yorkshire and is an engagingly modest and unassuming character.
He was also one of Australia’s very best pace bowlers – part of one of the greatest teams, in fact, to have played the game.
In 71 Tests, Gillespie took 259 wickets at 26.13 and established a fearsome partnership with Glenn McGrath.
He also captured 142 wickets in 97 one-day internationals at 25.42.
After leaving Yorkshire, Gillespie spent a season with Glamorgan, for whom he bagged 41 wickets at 30.41.
He finished with 613 first-class wickets at 26.98 and 255 List A wickets at 27.40.