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Gillespie to head back to Australia with Pakistan Shaheens

The former South Australia and Adelaide Strikers coach will oversee two four-day matches in Darwin next month

Jason Gillespie stepped down as South Australia coach, March 1, 2024

Jason Gillespie stepped down as South Australia coach  •  Getty Images

Jason Gillespie's first tour since being named Pakistan's Test coach will see him back in Australia as he oversees two four-day matches for the Shaheens (Pakistan A) in Darwin next month.
Pakistan Shaheens will play two four-day games against Bangladesh A between July 19-22 and 26-29 with Gillespie head coach for those matches before returning to Pakistan to prepare for a two-Test series against Bangladesh.
The Shaheens will remain in Darwin during August, playing 50-over matches against Northern Territory and Bangladesh A, before taking part in an expanded nine-team Top End T20 series for the second year running.
"The opportunity to be the head coach of Pakistan's Test side is fantastic," Gillespie, who quit as South Australia and Adelaide Strikers coach, told a PCB podcast shortly after his appointment. "It's an honour. I've been coaching for quite a while now in various roles around the world, but one thing I haven't done is coach an international Test side. When this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it.
The Top End series, staged from August 9 to August 18, will also feature a Bangladesh High Performance side. Perth Scorchers and Adelaide Strikers will send teams while Tasmania will also feature. Academy sides from Melbourne Renegades and Stars will again take part as in previous seasons while defending champions NT Strike and the ACT Comets make up the tournament.
The PCB has announced a Shaheens' squad, with one further player and a captain to be confirmed before the tour, which features fast bowler Khurram Shahzad who made his Test debut against Australia in Perth last year before his tour was ended early by injury.
"I am grateful to Northern Territory for inviting the Pakistan Shaheens for the second successive year," PCB director of international cricket Usman Wahla said. "Last year, the players had a memorable experience and enjoyed playing and performing in excellent playing conditions, in front of enthusiastic cricket fans.
"This year we have added red-ball cricket matches to give more exposure to our cricketers and I am confident the players will benefit from this tour and will return as better cricketers."
During the Test series, which Pakistan lost 3-0 but pushed Australia in Melbourne and Sydney, then team director Mohammad Hafeez said there were discussions between the PCB and CA on future touring opportunities for development teams.
For the Australian domestic cricketers involved, the Top End T20 series will provide pre-season opportunity for those not in action overseas.
"The competition adds another layer to what our pre-season would typically be, exposing players to tournament conditions ahead of the Australian domestic season," Kade Harvey, Perth Scorchers' general manager, said. "It's also a great opportunity for some of WA's most promising prospects to test themselves against quality opponents from Australia and Asia."
Last year the tournament featured Jake Fraser-McGurk and Will Sutherland who have since represented Australia, and in Fraser-McGurk's case taken the T20 world by storm at the IPL.
"To have two cricket powerhouses in Pakistan and Bangladesh now participating alongside half of the Big Bash League franchises is a testament to the potential of winter cricket in the Territory." NT Cricket CEO Gavin Dovey said.
Further squads for the Top End T20 series will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Pakistan Shaheens to tour Darwin Haseebullah, Hunain Shah, Kamran Ghulam, Kashif Ali, Khurram Shahzad, Mehran Mumtaz, Mohammad Huraira, Mubasir Khan, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Omair Yousuf, Sahibzada Farhan, Shahnawaz Dahani, Tayyab Tahir, Umar Amin