Chris Waters: Jason Gillespie would be excellent choice for England coach

Yorkshire Post cricket correspondent Chris Waters makes a compelling case for England turning to former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie after this summer's Ashes series when they look for Trevor Bayliss's successor ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Yorkshire Post cricket correspondent Chris Waters makes a compelling case for England turning to former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie after this summer's Ashes series when they look for Trevor Bayliss's successor ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
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SHANE WARNE famously said that the only use for coaches in international cricket was to ferry the players to and from the ground.

It was a wonderfully old-school observation, no doubt uttered with a can of XXXX in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and reflected his disdain, in particular, for the ex-Australia coach John Buchanan.

To Warne the likes of Buchanan only made the game harder, filling his head with unwanted information that he unashamedly likened to “verbal diarrhoea”.

Warne described Buchanan as a “goose” who lives in “pixieland”, the pair disproving the time-honoured notion that opposites attract.

Pretty soon England will need a new coach to ferry their players to and from the ground, among other tasks, when Trevor Bayliss departs after this summer’s Ashes.

The usual candidates have been mentioned in dispatches – Mickey Arthur, Tom Moody, names that seem to roll off the tongue for cricket jobs as surely as Sam Allardyce and David Moyes do for those in football.

Ottis Gibson, the South Africa coach and former England fast bowling coach, is one of the frontrunners, along with former Yorkshire pace bowler Chris Silverwood, who led Essex to the County Championship in 2017.

Both, no doubt, would do an excellent job, but England would do well to remember one of Warne’s international team-mates Jason Gillespie, who narrowly missed out when they chose Bayliss instead of him in 2015.

Gillespie’s situation/intentions are unclear from this distance, save for the fact that he enjoys his dual role as head coach of Sussex in the summer and of the Big Bash franchise Adelaide Strikers in the winter.

The former fast bowler is an honourable man; he would not just walk out and leave a club in the lurch although he might be released should England come calling.

Gillespie, who coached Yorkshire to back-to-back County Championships in 2014 and 2015, and almost to the hat-trick in 2016, has a young family and would no doubt see less of them on the international treadmill.

But, aged 43, and with an excellent track record behind him in domestic cricket around the world, it would seem only a matter of time before he does take a leading international coaching position.

To these eyes the England role would suit him down to the ground.

Not only has Gillespie played and prospered at the highest level, thus empathising with the particular challenges at work.

But he is also well-known to the players and coaches in the English set-up, not least the likes of England’s Test captain Joe Root.

Unlike Bayliss, Gillespie knows county cricket like the back of his hand, and who, potentially, has the talent to come through and play for England, and is firmly in touch with the modern game, qualities he shares in common with Silverwood.

Gillespie’s man-management skills are second to none; indeed, this is arguably the chief requirement of a top-level coach.

His ability to create the right environment, as it were, one that allows players to perform to their optimum, was probably his greatest success at Yorkshire.

Yes, he provided outstanding technical advice to the players too – not least those pace bowlers following his own particular trade, but he had the essential knack of understanding people and knowing how to get the best out of them.

When cricketers get to a certain standard, that is international level, one would hope that they know their games inside out and require only a helping hand rather than a rod of iron.

Seasoned professionals should not need coaches filling their heads with too much detail.

Another of Gillespie’s strengths is that he has the game in perspective.

When he coached in Zimbabwe prior to joining Yorkshire, for example, he worked with players who were struggling to feed their families.

Then, at Yorkshire, losing his father to a heart attack in 2013, as his father helped him to move house in Leeds, provided the ultimate sadness/sense of perspective.

As Gillespie recalled in a recent interview with the Australian website Players’ Voice: “I spent a fair bit of time after that thinking and reflecting. I began to look at life through pretty different eyes.

“Watching your dad die in front of you challenges the way you think, the values you possess and the things you place importance on in life. It makes you see things for what they really are.

“My main takeaway was to relax. Cricket is a game. It’s something I’m fortunate enough to work in and it should be celebrated.

“Yes, livelihoods can depend on it, but really it shouldn’t cause lots of stress and distract you from the truly important things in life, like family. It was an important lesson.”

When Gillespie was pipped for the England job last time it was largely due to Bayliss’s white-ball pedigree.

Since then, though, Gillespie has led Adelaide Strikers to the Big Bash title, and, with England set to continue down the one-coach route, as opposed to splitting the job between red- and white-ball formats, he has the ability to adapt to it all.

Ultimately it is in the hands of Ashley Giles, the managing director of England men’s cricket, as to who is appointed Bayliss’s successor, and it might be that he favours an English coach.

But, as Yorkshire’s supporters could testify, Gillespie is a winner and, were he available, he would surely represent an outstanding choice.