The Investec Ashes 2013

Gillespie's grief sobers Australia

Daniel Brettig

July 15, 2013

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie enjoyed his side's day, Warwickshire v Yorkshire, County Championship, Division One, Edgbaston, 1st day, May, 15, 2013
The death of Jason Gillespie's father put Australia's narrow loss to England in the first Ashes Test in perspective, Darren Lehmann said © PA Photos
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Even in the midst of a defeat that will sting as much as any in recent Ashes memory, Darren Lehmann and Australia had reason not to get too wrapped up in grief about a game of cricket. On the fourth evening of the Test match word went around the team, and others in Nottingham, that Jason Gillespie's father Neil had died while visiting his son and their family in Leeds.

This was sobering news for Lehmann, a close friend of Gillespie's since their days playing together with South Australia and then the national side. It also offered a reminder of why Lehmann has pushed for his players to be balanced in their lives, and why a narrow loss at Trent Bridge should not be carried too heavily with them on the journey down to London.

"Try to relax at the right times is our motto," Lehmann said. "We want to have fun. It's a game of cricket. After the game [on Saturday night] I spoke to one of my great mates, Jason Gillespie, who lost his father yesterday. That puts things in a bit of perspective. So we're playing a game, yes it's a big Ashes series, but as we talk about all the time there's a bit more important things that go on than a game of cricket.

"We like to relax and be quite comfortable around everyone and hopefully the guys have been respectful of you guys and helpful. That's a big thing for us. But when we play our cricket we want to play it hard and fair. There's all other things other things outside."

Not letting the memories of Nottingham loom too large over the second Test will be critical to Australia's chances of levelling the series at Lord's. Lehmann said his years in the game had taught him to hang on to anything positive that may be gained from a painful defeat while discarding the rest. Memories of Peter Siddle, Ashton Agar, Phillip Hughes and Brad Haddin will provide some sort of sustenance when training resumes on Tuesday.

"It was a fantastic game of cricket for everyone to watch," Lehmann said. "It would have been nice to get the other runs but we didn't get them so we've got to bounce back quickly and come Thursday play a good brand of cricket again, a nice attacking brand. There's a lot of positives for us out of that game. So moving forward, no dramas in getting the lads ready. Have a day or an afternoon off, head down to London and away we go again."

Lehmann's first Test as Australia's coach will never be forgotten and it was clear that he lived every ball with his players, whether beaming at Agar's efforts or cursing Stuart Broad's unjust reprieve. "It was tense, wasn't it? It was tense Test match cricket," he said. "That's why the players play the game. It's probably worse for us sitting back watching to be perfectly honest. It's a lot easier for the guys out there, the fielders and the batters. For us it's always tense."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by dunger.bob on (July 17, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

Posted by @ landl47 on (July 15, 2013, 21:12 GMT) "Very sad for Jason Gillespie. Yes, Darren Lehmann is quite right, it's just a game of cricket, there are more important things. It was a heck of a game, though."

What he said.

Posted by Fury on (July 16, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Well done Darren Lehmann for noting that Jason Gillespie's loss of his father puts the loss of a cricket match in perspective in a hurry. Fazaid on Troy Cooley? How soon we forget that Cooley was internationally lauded for being instrumental in England's historic Ashes win back in 2005. The ECB was then pilloried for being so assinine as to let Cooley get away and 'defect' to Australia. As I recall, Australians were jubilant about that hiring at the time. Fast bowlers are breaking down on a regular basis all over the world, not just Australia. Tremlett, Onions, Broad and Bresnan, to name but a few, right here in England. Is that Saker's fault? I don't think so.

Posted by Aristocratt on (July 16, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

Commiserations Jason. At this hour of grief, may you be blessed with strength.

Posted by fazald on (July 16, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

While aussie bowling coaches like David Saker and Jason Gillespie have done wonders with the England cricket team and in the english county circuit I wonder what the Australian Cricket Board is doing employing second string bowling coaches like Troy Cooley who has done virtually nothing for the quality of our fast bowling attack despite the availabilty of so much talent in the country who lack the basic skills of fast bowling like the England cricket team. Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc are very good examples despite all their experience. Craig McDermott's short stint and resignation as the bowling coach was a very big blow to aussie cricket. As long as the ACB is not prepared to take things seriously like the Mickey Arthur's sacking we could be wasting all the fast bowling talent we posses at the present time. Unlike other test cricket teams around the world the constant injuries to our fast bowling attack is also a major concern.

Posted by RohanMarkJay on (July 15, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

Wonderful fight shown by the Aussies in last test. Also my heartfelt condolences to Jason and his family.

Posted by landl47 on (July 15, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

Very sad for Jason Gillespie. Yes, Darren Lehmann is quite right, it's just a game of cricket, there are more important things.

It was a heck of a game, though.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 20:59 GMT)

Strength, kind thoughts and emotional sustenance to Jason Gillespie and his family at this time of loss.

Posted by   on (July 15, 2013, 17:43 GMT)

A wonderful fight shown by the Aussies. They came out with little expectation going for them, and even though they didn't manage to win the match, they won many hearts. All the best for the remaining matches, the series the still alive. My heartfelt condolences to Jason and his family.

Posted by CricketChat on (July 15, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

Matches like these give Test cricket a new lease of life even though I still think it is on life support with help from T20 and ODI (to a lesser extent) cricket. In a way, both teams are winners for saving Test cricket. All said, it is still very much a game of cricket. As mentioned in this article, no need to lose sleep over it. There are clearly lot more profound and important things in life.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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