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Gillespie bales out Kent as Donald awaits visa

Jason Gillespie's return to England has been faster than expected Getty Images

Jason Gillespie will join the Kent coaching staff at the start of the season as cover for Allan Donald, the former South African fast bowler, who is still facing delays on his visa application to enter the United Kingdom because of the lack of the requisite coaching qualification.

Kent's chief executive Jamie Clifford bemoaned the "bureaucratic barriers" that have so far prevented Donald from taking up his post because he does not yet possess a Level 3 coaching certificate that is the minimum entry requirement to coach cricket in England.

The fact that he was the first South African to take 300 Test wickets - he took 330 at 22.25 - and is an iconic figure in South African cricket history, has not spared him from the need to go back to school under a long-standing visa stipulation agreed between the immigration department and the ECB.

There will be huge relief in Kent that they have plugged the gap at least on a short-term basis as they seek a bowling coach able to unearth enough talent in their crop of young fast bowlers to mount another promotion challenge.

Gillespie, all tooled up as far as coaching certificates are concerned, left Yorkshire as the head coach at the end of last season after an agonising period which resulted in him deciding to move back to Adelaide and raise his family in Australia.

Now he will join Matt Walker and the first-team squad, in the role of interim assistant coach, ahead of the upcoming Specsavers County Championship season.

Gillespie said: "I am really looking forward to joining Kent. Obviously I moved back to Adelaide for family reasons last year but the opportunity to assist Kent on a short-term basis was one that I couldn't resist and works well with my current situation.

"I look forward to helping Matt Walker and Sam Northeast over the next couple of months until I hand over the reins to Allan Donald."

Gillespie has coached at Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League and Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League as well as winning back-to-back County Championships with Yorkshire in 2014 and 2015.

Donald was appointed assistant coach in January 2017 but he is still awaiting a visa to work in the UK. Although he played 72 Tests and 164 ODIs, and has a wealth of coaching experience, his lack of a Level 3 qualification caused his initial visa application to be rejected and he will have to gain the required paperwork before being admitted.

Clifford, Kent's chief executive, said: "Jason brings a wealth of experience as a player and coach in England and overseas. It's unfortunate that a world-class coach Allan is unable to join us as planned due to bureaucratic barriers but Jason will be a fine addition to the staff."