NOT for the first time or, one suspects, the last, speculation concerning the future of Yorkshire first-team coach Jason Gillespie was the main talking point at Headingley yesterday.
National newspaper reports had claimed that Gillespie will leave Yorkshire at the end of the season to become Australia’s new bowling coach.
However, Gillespie rubbished those reports and said that he is staying with Yorkshire, whom he has helped lead to back-to-back County Championships.
The speculation had been fuelled, ironically in the first instance, by Australia head coach and former Yorkshire batsman Darren Lehmann, who said on Australian radio last month that he wanted Gillespie as part of his backroom team.
“We hope that we can entice him back,” said Lehmann, who is looking for a permanent replacement for Craig McDermott, who left as bowling coach after the World T20.
Lehmann is in England attending International Cricket Council meetings in London, and he travelled to see Gillespie at his home in Leeds on Sunday.
The vacancy with Cricket Australia was mentioned, but Gillespie denied that he was offered the job and insisted that he is not looking for an international coaching position at present due to the amount of time it would entail away from his young family.
In August, Gillespie’s wife, Anna, and their four young children will move back to Australia, where Gillespie coaches Big Bash franchise Adelaide Strikers during the English close season.
They may well remain there permanently, with Gillespie potentially spending more time Down Under with them during the winter and his summers back in England, with his wife and children visiting England on an occasional basis.
Gillespie said the situation is up in the air, but his commitment to Yorkshire is unstinting and the club are happy to accommodate his family situation.
He will inevitably still be linked with international jobs that come up (last year he was close to becoming England head coach before the role went to his fellow countryman Trevor Bayliss), but he stressed last night that his focus is firmly on Yorkshire.
“As long as Yorkshire are happy to keep me, I’ve certainly got no plans (to leave),” said Gillespie, who is in his fifth season as the county’s coach.
“I love it here, and there’s plenty of things as a club that we want to achieve.
“If opportunities come up further down the line, then you always look at them as you would do in any walk of life.
“I’m only 41 – quite young in coaching terms – and I’ve still got a lot to learn, and for me there’s no rush (to move on).
“If Cricket Australia come calling in a couple of years’ time, it might be a different situation, I really don’t know.
“But that’s one for the future, I’m not focusing on that at all. I’m just focusing on the job that I love here at Yorkshire.”
Commenting on the Australian bowling coach position, Gillespie admitted: “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a bowling coach; I think I’ve got more to offer.
“Darren (Lehmann) came to my place and we had a couple of beers and a meal, but we’re good mates and three-quarters of our chat was just chatting about life and catching up on family and stuff.
“He mentioned that there is a role coming up in Australian cricket and asked if I was interested in putting my name forward and applying for it.
“But I want to make it very clear that there was no job offer from Darren; it was merely gauging interest.
“I have confirmed to Darren that I am not going to apply for a role with Cricket Australia (as bowling coach), so we can now put an end to the speculation.
“It’s well known that I’ve got a young family, and do I want to be away from them for 250-plus nights a year?
“At this point in my life, I am not prepared to be away from them for that length of time, so it’s not on the radar.
“I’m not applying for any international cricket roles.”
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will play for Yorkshire in their NatWest T20 Blast match against Lancashire at Old Trafford on Friday.
The pair have been made available by England after helping their country to victory in the Test series against Sri Lanka.
England have also made Chris Woakes available to play for Birmingham Bears against Durham at Edgbaston on Friday, while uncapped Jake Ball is free to join Notts for their T20 fixtures against Durham at Chester-le-Street tomorrow and against Lancashire at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
Ball can also play in Notts’ Royal London Cup game against Northants at Trent Bridge on Monday before rejoining the England squad for the third and final Test that starts at Lord’s on Thursday week.
Roses clash set for compelling finish at Headingley: Page 23.