Gillespie joins Strikers, ponders Redbacks
Jason Gillespie has been confirmed as coach of Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League and will ponder the option of also taking on the job of South Australia coach as the state searches for the man to replace Darren Berry in the latter role.
The Strikers' announcement that they had secured Gillespie was accompanied by expressions of hope from the South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw that the former Australia fast bowler would entertain the thought of taking up both gigs.
However such a decision would likely force Gillespie out of the role of Yorkshire coach, a post he has held with great success, so much so that he has commonly been touted as the next coach of England. In discussing how excited he was to be returning to a job in his home state, Gillespie gave no indication he was thinking of leaving Headingley.
"It was very late in the piece (that I was approached)," Gillespie said. "Obviously things have happened at the SACA and I got a call asking if there was any interest would I be willing to be spoken to about possibly being involved, and I jumped at the opportunity really.
"Watching the Big Bash on television from home in the UK, it's very exciting, and to have the opportunity to be part of it I think is fantastic. I saw the brand of cricket they played in the last Big Bash and it did excite me. It was entertaining cricket, which I'm really big on - that's what we're here for, to entertain crowds and put on a show. I think a positive, aggressive brand of cricket is the way forward, and I saw that with the Strikers.
"Having an opportunity to see how the Big Bash works, I'm hoping I can bring back to Yorkshire some of the things I learn, whether it be working with other coaches, working with different players, some thoughts and ideas about how the Twenty20 game is continually evolving. If I can bring any of that knowledge back to Yorkshire, hopefully that can help us improve our Twenty20 cricket.'
Much like his former state and national teammate Darren Lehmann, Gillespie has returned to the Australian cricket fold with some fanfare after retiring during the 2007-08 season and being at odds with the cricket hierarchy for some time.
Gillespie was knocked back for numerous Australia and domestic roles before working in Zimbabwe on the way to taking the job as head coach at Yorkshire. It is a role he has filled with distinction, largely by exhorting his players to be aggressive, free-spirited and independent-minded.
"Pressure is what you make of it. My role is simply to allow players to go out there and express themselves," he said. "If I can help them along the way, then that's fantastic. I like to empower players, I like to empower other members of the coaching staff. "I think that's really important. We're all in it together.
"I just want to see some exciting cricket, I want to see lads go out there with a smile on their face. They're representing the Adelaide Strikers, it's all about opportunity, it's all about having some fun, and I'm really excited about that."
Bradshaw, the former MCC chief executive, said that while he respected Gillespie's Yorkshire ties, he would dearly love to see him choose to work year-round in SA. "If he ended up as the Redbacks coach, what a fantastic story that would be as well," Bradshaw said. "There is a journey that we need to go through but he is, without question, a quality guy, quality coach, a quality individual, and he is South Australian."
Few coaches have been able to succeed over a long period of time while juggling both BBL and state roles.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig