JASON Gillespie wants to turn Yorkshire into the great entertainers of county cricket.
The former Australia fast bowler – appointed first-team coach during the winter – is promising an attacking style of play.
Historically, Yorkshire have favoured the dour, give ‘em nowt philosophy epitomised by the grim Roses battles of the 1920s.
Although Gillespie’s 21st century incarnation will be equally unyielding, he wants Yorkshire to be exciting to watch as well as successful, an ethos that will underpin their efforts to bounce back from County Championship relegation at the first attempt.
As his side prepared for today’s opening Championship match of the season against Kent at Headingley Carnegie, Gillespie spelled out his crowd-pleasing message.
“We want the Yorkshire cricket team to put on a show and really look to entertain people,” he said.
“We want people to come to the ground saying they want to watch Yorkshire play because they play an exciting brand of cricket.
“Cricket is supposed to be about entertainment, at the end of the day, and that’s what we want.
“We want to have some fun on the pitch and entertain the spectators.”
Enjoyment is an essential part of Gillespie’s strategy.
He believes that if his players take pleasure in what they are doing, they, in turn, will give pleasure to others.
“What we’ve been instilling in the players is that we’re going to have some fun,” he added.
“We’re going to enjoy our successes if they come along, and we’re going to enjoy each other’s successes and each other’s company.
“I think that’s really important because, after all, we’re in this game to enjoy it.
“There’s a lot of cricket during a very long county season, and you’ve got to enjoy it as much as you can.”
How much Yorkshire enjoy this summer will depend on whether they succeed in their quest to win promotion.
Publicly, it is a quest which Gillespie plays down; privately, he will surely share the ambition of Geoffrey Boycott, who said on his appointment as club president recently that Yorkshire must get promoted this season.
“I haven’t set any goals whatsoever with regard to winning trophies,” said Gillespie.
“Our focus is on what we can control, which is our preparation and getting out there and performing our skills to the best of our ability.
“We just want to play the best cricket we can play. Hopefully, the results will take care of themselves.”
Gillespie believes he has the players who can make an impact this season.
He takes charge of a squad which is more than good enough to bounce straight back.
“We believe we’ve got the squad to do the job,” he said.
“If we stick to our game plans and are consistent in everything we do, I am sure the rest will take care of itself.
“They are a great bunch of players; they are willing to learn and striving hard to improve, both as individuals and team players.
“That’s the really pleasing thing for me, that the guys are really working hard as a team.”
Evidence of that work was to be seen on Yorkshire’s pre-season trip to the Caribbean.
Gillespie’s first duty as coach was to lead the club to the Barbados Twenty20 Cup – a decent achievement given they beat some good county teams along the way.
“It’s always nice to win something,” added Gillespie, “but the real focus in Barbados was just to implement a few things we’d been working on individually and as a team.
“That was the most pleasing aspect for me – the bubble and the vibe that was generated from that.
“I was pleased with the squad from the very first week I was here in the winter, when I saw the guys training up at the gym.
“That’s when I started to get pretty excited.”
Gillespie is further enthused by the prospect of proving himself on the coaching front.
His playing CV speaks for itself; he took 402 international wickets in arguably the greatest team to have played the game.
Now he is determined to shine just as brightly in his new capacity.
“Just because you’ve played a lot of cricket at international level doesn’t mean you’ll automatically make a good coach,” he added.
“I’ve always said that’s something I’m very conscious of, and I’m continually trying to improve and learn.
“I’m at the early part of my coaching career and I’ve still got a lot to do.
“But I’m really enjoying it and keen to do well.”
Gillespie has already taken his first tough decision as Yorkshire coach – who to leave out of his squad for today’s fixture.
Anthony McGrath looks set to get the nod over Adam Lyth in the top-order, while pace bowler Iain Wardlaw could be preferred to Steve Patterson.
The action starts at 11.00am – snow permitting.