MARTYN MOXON believes that Yorkshire will continue to be successful despite the departure of first team coach Jason Gillespie as he steps up the search for the Australian’s replacement.
Yorkshire were unable to farewell Gillespie with a hat-trick of County Championships when they lost to Middlesex at Lord’s on Friday. But director of cricket Moxon is confident that Yorkshire can recover from that setback and maintain prosperity after five memorable seasons under Gillespie, who is returning to Australia to be with his wife and children.
Yorkshire have been linked with a number of possible candidates, including England assistant coach Paul Farbrace and also Brad Hodge, Gillespie’s assistant at the Big Bash League franchise Adelaide Strikers, in addition to the former Yorkshire players Richard Dawson and Chris Silverwood.
But whoever gets the job, Moxon feels sure that Gillespie’s departure will not draw a line under one of the most successful eras in Yorkshire’s history.
“The club lives on, and we will find a successor for Dizzy and look to continue the success that he has started,” said Moxon.
“There’s a real desire within the squad to keep winning, and we’ll have a bit of a break now and come back strong next year.
“It’s a remarkable record that Dizzy has got as coach of the first XI (only seven defeats in 80 Championship games), and it’s going to be very hard to beat that, or even match it.
“But we’ve got some great players and staff at Yorkshire, and the important thing is that the club does live on.”
Moxon, who has overseen a five-year period characterised by strong success, shrewd signings and backroom harmony behind the scenes, will miss Gillespie from a personal point of view as well as a professional one.
The pair have made for a strong team underpinning the collective team, with Yorkshire now a force in all forms of cricket and optimistic that they can push on to greater things in the one-day arena.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Dizzy,” added Moxon.
“He’s done a brilliant job, and he’s a great man and a big friend now.
“Obviously, I knew him before he came as coach here (Gillespie previously played at Yorkshire under Moxon), but I think we’ve built up a really strong friendship that will last for the rest of our lives.
“I’m just thankful for the job he’s done for Yorkshire cricket because, as I say, it’s a remarkable record that he has.”
Sport has a funny way of kicking people up the backside, of course, and it seems slightly incongruous that Yorkshire did not win a trophy in Gillespie’s last season.
They challenged strongly in all three competitions, finishing third in the Championship and reaching the semi-finals of the T20 Blast and One-Day Cup, but further silverware proved frustratingly elusive.
“It’s been a nearly season all round,” admitted Moxon.
“If we’re being brutally honest, in Championship cricket, we haven’t quite played well enough to win it this year.
“We got so close in the T20 and 50-overs as well, and, on those semi-final days, we weren’t quite good enough on the day to finish the job.
“There’s been a lot of big games, a lot of travelling, a lot of effort put into the season, and although it is disappointing to finish with nothing, I think that when the dust has settled that everyone can be rightly proud of their efforts and achievements this year.”
Were Yorkshire consistently at full strength, as opposed to being without their England players for much of the time, they would probably win – or go close to winning – the treble each summer.
International call-ups are a fact of life for them, however, and Moxon believes it is increasingly difficult these days to challenge strongly in all three competitions.
“When you look at our season, I think it just shows how hard it is to compete in all three competitions and how physically and mentally draining that can be,” he said.
“I think the players had to dig really deep in the last few weeks to get us so close, and the efforts they put in at Lord’s against Middlesex, they had to dig really deep into their reserves.
“We were missing players once again at Lord’s, which was well documented, but we felt that we still had 11 players who could win the game, and we so nearly did win it.
“It shows the strength of the squad, and I know that Dizzy and the coaching staff are as proud as I am of the boys, and I think that everyone connected with the club will be proud of them too.”
Gillespie’s last task at Headingley will be to attend the club’s gala dinner on October 6.
He then returns Down Under with the thanks and well-wishes not only of Moxon, but of all Yorkshire cricket lovers.
Gillespie reacts: Page 9