Friday, 4 September 2015

A chat with Jason

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I would beg an 'interview' from Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, and to my complete shock he said yes!!!

Well after I had picked myself up from the floor, I realised that I had to step up a gear if I was going to do this, I went into total panic!

So as I hinted the other day that I had gatecrashed my way into the Carnegie Pavilion, that was a little fib as I had been invited to go and have a chat with 'Gillespie the Gallant', who was a great sport agreeing to talk to me.

Here is the outcome of our meeting,

Firstly Jason  thank you for agreeing to have a chat with me. so lets open with some general questions.

When you were a child what did you want to be?

Its a good question and I can honestly say for  as long as I can  remember, all I ever wanted to do was play cricket for Australia.
That was my whole goal, even when I was at school ,teachers and friends would ask 'What do you want to do with your life?',
I would say 'I want to play cricket for Australia'.
They would say ' you can't have that as a career',
 I would say 'Why not'? it was my goal and my dream.
It was everything,I couldn't imagine doing anything else. cricket was from a very young age something that was very important
I played soccer from a very young age until I was a teenager, I went through fazes, with basketball, squash and tennis, but cricket was always the constant over the summer, I have been very lucky that I have been able to live my dream.

And continue doing it

Yes absolutely.

You do some commentating ,but is coaching where you want to be?

I love coaching, but I wouldn't rule out being full time in the media at some point.I'm 40 now, and who is to say how long I will be coaching. Don't get me wrong I love what I am doing, but there may be media work for me sometime in the future.
I try not to look too far ahead, I am actually not looking any further than this game at the moment
( Yorks V Somerset) to be honest I don't like to look too far into the future.

What do you do in your free time?
*whispers 'please don't say golf!*

I don't play golf very well, I do like golf, but I haven't played for so long, I suppose that's just the fact that we have such a young family.
If I have a day off it's basically a case of spending time with my family, spending time with the kids, it's what I love doing.
It's so busy with county cricket, away from home a lot.
Sometimes when you do have a day off you find that you only have time to  do washing and get ready to go again, that  can be pretty full on
Really any downtime is just  about being with family and friends.

You have travelled extensively with cricket would you say that you have a favourite place?

I really enjoyed the couple of season that we lived in Zimbabwe that was a great time and I really enjoyed living there.
 Africa is beautiful, it's different and it was challenging and  at times it was really hard.
 They have a real love for the game,but  its a very different existence it can't be as professional , there is a lot of stuff going on away from the  cricket  and it takes a lot of Zimbabweans focus away from the game.
That's real life there and you have to respect that.
The love of cricket is definitely there, there is no doubt about that.
I did really love my time out there.

How do you pass the time on team bus journeys?

Either catching up on a bit of work, or generally reading the paper or book,maybe chatting with the lads or the support staff. sometimes there may be a movie which I may watch.
If it's one that Jack Brooks has chosen then its usually pretty awful so I will avoid that.
Generally a bit of everything and if I need to, then I will sleep.

Who is the 'naughtiest' boy in the team?

Who is the 'naughtiest' boy in the team,?
That's a tough question, I don't think any of the lads are naughty, cheeky, yeah they are cheeky. I don't think that there are any naughty lads in the group.
Jack Brooks facial hair is naughty!

Can you not pin him down and shave it off ?

we have had some words about it , he looks like Zorro!!!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Good question, chances are I will be involved in cricket in  a coaching capacity somewhere, where though  I have no idea.
 I love Yorkshire and would love to be  sitting here in 10 years time still coaching them, that's a long way in the future and with the evolution of the club and the team, its very rare for someone to have 14-15 years as a First Team Coach.
Would that be best for the team?. If it is and I am still here then it means  that the club is going in the right direction and I must be doing something right!
It's a long way in the future though.

 You were a Pro at Rishton in the Lancashire League, did you ever consider working with Lancashire?
I was, that is good knowledge!
I only had half a season with Rishton, I was coming back after breaking my leg in Sri Lanka in 1999, so I missed most of the 1999-2000 season in Australia, I think that I played the last 3 Sheffield Shield games and then we had a whole winter off . I spent the early part of the  summer  playing in the Lancashire League and I took the time to get myself right,prepare for the weekend of cricket, so that I could keep up my fitness, play some games, take some wickets.
Then  I got called up to play International Cricket again, so I only got to be there for half a season.
It was a shame to leave it was a good time, I  really enjoyed it and met some great people.
Great time and some good laughs.

I was at Chester Le Street in 2006 and was  lucky enough to see you take 6-37 against Durham, I remember it vividly, what do you remember about it?

The one wicket that I remember was getting Otis Gibson LBW to a ball that bounced about ankle height from back of a length.I knew that I would get the LB decision and Otis just walked off laughing, I remember if because it was my only 5fer  for Yorkshire.
I played two seasons and it was unacceptable for an overseas fast bowler, to only get one five wicket haul in two seasons. I underachieved massively  as an overseas player, so I do remember it, taking those wickets.
I needed to take some wickets, and  Chester le Street which is one of my favourite grounds.
I always put it in my top 10 when you sit around with players and other coaches doing your top 10 grounds in the world, That ground has always been in my Top 10.
I have always enjoyed bowling there.
it's a massive ground and when you are player waiting to go out to bat or bowl, and now as a Coach sitting on the balcony looking out over to the castle in the background, its a wonderful backdrop.
There is a lovely feel about the place, it's big enough to be an international ground and is very modern but still has a 'feel' about it.

You unknowingly gave me the best birthday present in 2011 

Unknowingly? what did I do? what did I say?

It was announced on 15th November that you had taken the role of First Team Coach with Yorkshire, what made you take the job?

Well I suppose the question that you have to ask is why not?
I was at the time coaching in Zimbabwe, I hadn't had much coaching experience as such, I done bits and pieces, coached the South Australia Country team, been out in the IPL, Australia A.
Then after I had been in Zimbabwe for a couple of seasons I got contacted by Martyn Moxon. He said the club were restructuring  and that a role with the First Team might suit me. Would I apply, I spoke to my wife and decided to apply for it and I did my interview over the phone from Zimbabwe which was interesting!!!.

I remember the past interviews that I  had applied for had been in Australia, assistant coaches roles. I remember thinking that  I was telling them what I thought  they wanted to hear, I vowed I would never do that again and when I got the chance with Yorkshire I just told the interview panel how I wanted to run a team, how I thought the best way forward for Yorkshire would be, and two hours later Frog ( Martyn Moxon) rang me and offered me the position.
I didn't have to take too much time to think about it.
It is the biggest club in the world, club that I played for, and an incredible opportunity for someone like me  with  not  a lot of coaching experience,. how could I not want to be here?
They knew me  and so I accepted,  it was a great opportunity, I had a good relationship with Frog.
Another reason that I accepted it was because the  club had been relegated, hadn't been performing well in first class or in short forms either, looking at the squad  I saw a great group of players, I loved to have the opportunity to try and  help them perform well and  achieve something .
And I'm still here so it must be going OK!

When the season started Yorkshire were 8 men down Captain Gale on suspension, 6 out with England and then Ryan with calf injury, What was your plan of action at the time?

Well it was very simple, everyone could look at it negatively, we were losing all these players, I really saw it as a great chance for us to give some of the young lads a go. Will Rhodes, Alex Lees got to captain the side, we had Pujara as oversea player who did quite well. Young Matt Fisher got a couple of games, I saw it as a positive.
 We knew Jonny was away and I have all the faith in the world with Andrew Hodd I think that he is one of the  best glovemen  in the country.
So I didn't see all doom and gloom, I knew these guys needed to step up and do a job, it was just about giving them a chance to do that, letting them know that they have your support and get them out playing,  fortunately they were able to do that!
Matt Fisher is an absolutely fantastic  young bowler and he is only going to get better for that experience.
Will Rhodes who is not an opener, we saw something in him and  thought  he can do a job for us whilst Lythy is away. So we made it clear to him that this was his position rain hail  or shine, there were 4-5 games and whether he got  ducks, I was going to persevere with him, and I told him, that I was backing him in this job until Lythy's back and we would go from there. it gave him a lot of confidence.

I personally think that you have one of the strongest teams with a good  back up system.

Well it does test our resources when our players are with England and then a couple of injuries, we feel that the plans we have in place, the structure that we have in place, the 2nd XI academy is  our way forward.
We back our players to come through that, and what I say to all the young players is

'You're not here to make up numbers, you are here to perform and do your job, If you get picked for the 1st team you are expected to do the job'

They love that, they know that they will be rated on their performance, it's not work experience, the by product of it is that they are getting experience.And that's great.
They have to go out and perform, get thrown in the deep end in work life , it's  can be sink or swim, and we trust our lads to swim, It gets results

Since 2012 you have taken Yorkshire from Division 2 , to County Champions, what are your aspirations for next season?


Because we aren't going to talk about the end of this season

What you have got to remember is, you said 'I ' have taken them, I haven't, its much more of a team effort, the lads have empowered themselves to go and perform, you also can't underestimate Martyn's influence.
They have responded well to their captain and we make sure that there is a lot of clarity about everything that we do, whether its their training, prep, what  we are trying to achieve out there, pretty clear plan when we are bowling, or batting, sort of keep it as simple as possible.
One thing I haven't tried, is to reinvent the wheel by any stretch, because cricket is very simple, its about hitting, catching and bowling. If you keep it as basic as that with a little help along the way, little technical things that you can work on, little tweaks to improve performance, by and large its about attitude. I'm a big one for that, you have to have a good attitude about it..
Its can be hard as cricket is a team game but there are lots of individual things and its how that individual marries that up with team goals, its intertwined, and I think that you need good team spirit.
Some guys in cricket or any sport are there for themselves, that's the nature of the beast.
You have to find the right balance and I think that we have that at Yorkshire.

It's not been a good T20 season for the club, personally I am not too keen on all the 'razzamatazz' of short form cricket, I can see that it is money maker for clubs. How do you see these matches?

They are really important.
My favourite format of the game is the long form of cricket I love Test cricket that's my favourite and First class cricket, but I do like T20. Its something that we have to work on, we just haven't quite got our combinations right, players not quite getting it right, I think  myself as well not quite getting the selections right at times. Its just a combinations of all those really.
We get it right sometimes and not others. I think T20 lends itself to that, if you can get on a roll as we did in 2012. you can go all the way.
We also want to learn from the other teams.
 I am off to coach the Adelaide Strikers in the winter and I am hoping that I can bring something back from there to help Yorkshire.
I think that it will be good we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Are you going to bring Glenn Maxwell back next season?

I don't know, I can honestly tell you that  we haven't had any conversations about overseas players at the moment I think we are still pretty excited about the fact that we have signed David Willey.

I was going to actually ask you about that, when I first asked to speak to you it was being rumoured and then it was announced that David was joining you  but if you could choose one other player from around the counties who has caught your eye, who would it be and why?

There are a number of players that catch your eye

*Hints* Jack Shantry 

(laughing) there are a number of players that catch your eye!!!!!, however I will be honest I would rather back our players, but when someone like David Willey comes onto the market and wants to play at Yorkshire, that's just brilliant.

Big thing for him is that he wants to play test cricket and wants to improve his long form game and its a chance for him to work with Ryan, which he wanted.
He didn't come for money there were a number of clubs  offering more financial incentive, but he wants to play Test cricket and feels that coming to Yorkshire is his best way of going someway towards that.
and it was refreshing to hear that it wasn't about money , Dave is brilliant and I am really looking forward to working with him as are all the support staff.

So I take it you didn't look at Jack Shantry?

We haven't looked at Jack Shantry, I  did however play cricket with his brother.


Yes Adam lovely bloke, Jacks a lovely bloke, Adam is now coaching at Shrewsbury School.

Yes, he is working with a friend of mine.

Ah  OK,  but no we haven't been going down the Jack Shantry path.

I'm gutted!!!!!

I can tell, you're blushing!!!

I hate to see negative things being said about Yorkshire on social media. My philosophy is that you can't win them all and if you did it would be  very boring! I also don't hold with being abusive about the club you are suppose to support. How do you feel when you see negative things written?

Its very simple for me if there is any thing negative or abusive on social media, its very simple I just block them. There are no second chances, no ifs or buts. I think that social media is really good to get a message out there and promote the club,which is what I do as much as I can.
If there is any negativity towards the club or any of our players or myself then its a  its a block. I just have a very simple block policy.

I keep it simple, any negativity  abuse I just block them and its dealt with.
I even had a letter sent to the club saying 'Please unblock me because I like reading you'
and no I won't unblock you, you shouldn't have done it in the first place.
This is a lesson that needs to be learnt, social media is  something that everyone is still learning about.
Sometimes people have to learn a tough lesson.
Just think  before you tweet, would be my message to people.

Next weekend is the One Day Cup Semis, how  do you see this?

I am just excited for the lads, excited for the club, its a great  opportunity for us to fill the stadium, and opportunity for the players to go out and show their skills really.
For me I am just genuinely excited, I am looking forward to seeing Richards Dawson our former second team coach, who is head coach there and Ian Harvey, I have been delighted with seeing him being successful, BUT  I am hoping that they are not going to be successful come the weekend.
It will be good to see them, I am pleased as punch for them.
From our perspective I am just really excited, lets get out there, lets put on a show,lots of people come and support us, that will be my message to the lads, Lets get out there, its a Semi Final, uncharted territory,lets just go and play.

Can we do 'The Double' 

Look its a long way off lets not speculate on anything like that. we will just go out and play as good cricket as we can.

You are understandable popular on the After Dinner and Q &  A circuit, I know that there is a 'Cricket Dinner with Jason Gillespie' in London in October, do you really enjoy doing these?

I do, doing too many of them I find I get a bit bored with.
 I do Q & A's with my mate Dave Callaghan to raise some money for charity, We try to raise the profile of the club and cricket in general and I never get tired of telling my test double hundred story.

Oh I was going to ask you about that but thought 'no he will be sick of talking about it'!!

Its something that I always talk about in my after dinner speaking.

When the 'other' record  for ' last double hundred  by an Australian on foreign soil' was broken this summer, did you feel any regret?

Ah when Steve Smith did that I wasn't bothered, it was about bloody time, look I shouldn't be holding any batting records.

However the 201  by a number 10 batsman is still a world record and single greatest innings!!!

Have you ever been asked to  officially 'open' a cricket wicket?

Ehhh no!!!!!

Well next time you are passing Newton Aycliffe can you call in  and officially open the 'wicket' in my garden?

*Lots of laughter*  (nervous laughter!!!)

I am actually sitting here talking to one  of my  greatest  cricket heroes, ( and shaking like a leaf),

Thats very kind of you to say.

Who is your cricket hero?

I love Dennis Lillee I  was fortunate enough when I went to the cricket academy to meet him, I got to spend some time with him  at cricket and socially which was  a surreal time for me.
Really any former Australian cricketers  were heroes  of mine, these guys had done what I wanted to do. I looked up to all of them, I'm a bit of a cricket tragic, a badger, I used to learn every ones averages, how many tests they had played, I've forgotten a lot of it now. I do love my cricket trivia, I love the game.

I'll name a few of my heroes, Dennis Lillee, Merv Hughes, Craig McDermott, you know I got to open the bowling with one of my great heroes who became one of my great mates. Glenn McGrath, a great man and I  consider him a close mate.
From other countries I can't go past  the late, great Malcolm Marshall, who was unbelievable,  he was a wonderful cricketer, a wonderful person, I was lucky enough to meet him a couple of times, he was such a nice bloke  to me in the couple of dealings I had with him. Sadly he is gone, but never forgotten.

In your cricketing life what would you say is your greatest moment/moments.?
Oh I have been really lucky in my cricketing life, playing for Australia, playing for Yorkshire and now coaching Yorkshire.
Playing in an Ashes winning team has to have been  one of the greatest moments.
I have had many great moments.

In my cricketing life this has to have been one of my greatest moments, thank you for taking the time to talk to me and answer some very mundane questions.

*laughing*  My pleasure.


Jason Gillespie otherwise known as Gillespie the Gallant, has figured  in my blog from day one and was the absolute perfect interviewee!

I have to say that was the best hour  I have spent in a long time!

My thanks to him for agreeing to talk to me.

Just to mention that yesterday 'My Tykes' wrapped up their match against Somerset, winning by an innings and 126 runs..............................................Little Miss Chatterbox was actually silenced!!!!!


Roll on Sunday and the semi final!!!!

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