ANDREW GALE last night said Yorkshire would need to appoint a head coach with the same positive mindset as Jason Gillespie if the Australian moves on to take charge of England.
The 40-year-old former pace bowler was yesterday confirmed by the ECB’s new director of cricket, Andrew Strauss, as a front-runner to replace Peter Moores.
Gillespie is understood to top a list of possible candidates that Strauss, who has ruled out a return to the England fold for Kevin Pietersen, wants to meet in the coming few days.
After today’s final day of their LV=County Championship clash against Hampshire – a game they will expect to wrap up after a dominant third day that ended with the visitors trailing by 411 runs with just six wickets remaining – Yorkshire host Derbyshire in Friday’s NatWest T20 Blast opener.
There is then a full week before the White Rose county returns to action with a trip to Trent Bridge in the T20.
Gale was at pains to stress that, as of last night, no approach had been made by the ECB.
However, with Strauss also suggesting Paul Farbrace – in charge of the two-Test series against New Zealand – is not in the running to become a permanent appointment, everything points to Gillespie.
“It will be very tough,” said Gale when asked about what life would be like if the club’s head coach moves on. “Jason’s impact has been massive and our relationship very strong in driving the club forward.
“If it does happen, we will have to sit down and discuss the way forward. I would like to see if we could get someone with a similar mindset. The club needs that positive sort of approach to the game. But he will have some big boots to fill, definitely.
“What I will say, though, is we have had no formal approach as a club from the ECB. If that approach does come along, Martyn (Moxon, director of cricket) will deal with that and he will have a sit down with his family for a long, hard think.
“As far as we are concerned, he is still head coach of Yorkshire.”
Yesterday’s confirmation that Gillespie is firmly in the ECB’s thoughts suggests the trend of the White Rose county being continually raided for key personnel will continue.
Chairman Colin Graves, second-team coach Farbrace and the half a dozen players recently taken on the Caribbean tour underline just how integral Yorkshire have become to cricket in this country.
Now, Gillespie – who helped bring the County Championship title back to the Broad Acres last year – seems set to follow suit.
For Gale, such a loss would be huge. “You only have to see how far we have come as a club to see what a massive impact he has had in three years,” he said.
“It is a big job to turn down, I guess. But, as far as we are concerned, he is still our head coach and we have a game of cricket to win here.
“A big job came for him last week with South Australia. It must have been very flattering for his home state to come calling and I believe it was a very lucrative deal.
“But he turned that deal down. He, his wife and his kids are very settled in Yorkshire so that is a decision only they can make if the approach does come along.”
Pressed on why Gillespie has made such a big impact at Headingley, Gale added: “There is no hidden secret to what Jason does.
“He keeps things very simple and he gives the players a lot of confidence. He is a very positive guy. He expects players to train hard, but also entertain the public as well.
“I am sure if England do come knocking and he leaves, they will play in a different fashion to how they do now.”
Along with revealing the ECB’s interest in Gillespie, Strauss also told a media briefing at Lord’s that Joe Root is the new vice-captain of the national team.
On his county team-mate’s elevation, Gale said: “There is no doubt, sometime down the line, that Joe will be a strong candidate for the England job. He has had some leadership experience with us when I have been away and done the job very well.
“Joe is a mature lad who brings a lot of knowledge and energy. His tactical nous is exceptional, too. This will be a stepping stone to the full job for him.”
Yesterday’s third day against Hampshire saw Yorkshire tighten their grip on proceedings thanks to a maiden century for the county by Cheteshwar Pujara.
In the grand scheme of things, however, events at Headingley would always be overshadowed by what was said at Lord’s by the ECB’s new director of cricket.
Asked about Gillespie’s suitability for the role, Strauss said: “He is one of the candidates, absolutely.
“At the moment I have just been concerning myself with the process and how we go about it. Over the next few days, we will start approaching candidates.
“I need to go and meet them, speak to them and see their philosophy on cricket, their philosophy on coaching and whether it is aligned with what I think is in the best interests of England cricket.”