Donald and Gillespie bullish about Zimbabwe
Former fast-bowling greats Allan Donald and Jason Gillsepie, who have taken up coaching assignments in Zimbabwe, are looking forward to their stints in the politically unstable country. Donald, who will take charge of reigning domestic champions Mountaineers for the forthcoming season, said he "did not hesitate one inch" when the opportunity to move to Zimbabwe came up. Gillespie who is set to work with MidWest Rhinos was equally bullish on the prospects of coaching in Zimbabwe.
"I was delighted to take the opportunity, it's fantastic because the cricket in Zimbabwe is very much on the up and to be a part of it is very humbling. I have been telling the people in Australia that I've only been here for a few days and the atmosphere here on cricket and everything is really exciting and as a new coach it really exciting and something we can sink our teeth in," Gillespie said.
While Gillespie's main focus will be with the Rhinos, he was keen on working at the grass roots level. "Although my main role will be to focus on the Midwest Rhinos but as coaches we have a role to develop the game at all levels and if I can be a part of that in any small way I will certainly jump on that," he said. "Midwest Rhinos have a lot of young players and my role is to help them achieve their goals both as individuals and a collective group and if I can be a part of that and work at grass roots level then that will be a real bonus."
Gillespie hoped the Rhinos would play an entertaining brand of cricket under his watch. "My focus is on the Rhinos and getting things in place, first and foremost we will be looking to enjoy our cricket and the number one focus is to be an entertaining side. We want people to walk away and say that we really play positive cricket and we were entertained today. That will be our focus and we are really excited about that," Gillespie said.
Donald was confident that Zimbabwe had the talent and resources to make a return to the Test fold. "I have been watching the triangular between Zimbabwe, India and Sri Lanka and I have already been talking about a few guys. We will be bumping into a lot of guys along the way and we will certainly identify the talent that is around. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe has got what it takes to play at the highest level - Test cricket."
Donald was aware that taking over the reins of a top-performing side brought with it the pressure of living up to expectations. He said his primary aim would be to further develop the winning culture in the Mountaineers franchise, and train his players to think and act like international cricketers.
"That is also the challenge after a dream season like that and you win two trophies, not only is the pressure for the coach but the team as well. I believe that I can maintain the attitude and intensity levels at the franchise for the guys to respond to the responsibility that lies this season and winning becomes a culture. For me one of things I need to do is to make a lot of the youngsters think like international cricketers or prepare like international cricketers and that is my aim to try and get that mentality straight up there," Donald said.