YORKSHIRE chief executive Mark Arthur is calling on the club’s supporters to give coach Jason Gillespie a rousing send-off as the Australian prepares to take charge of his final home game at Headingley.
Gillespie oversees Yorkshire for the final time at the club’s Leeds headquarters when his second-placed side take on third-placed Somerset in the County Championship, starting today.
The former fast bowler is returning to Adelaide at the end of the season to be with his wife and children after five years at the helm.
With Yorkshire just one point behind leaders Middlesex, their opponents at Lord’s in next week’s final match, there is every chance that he could sign off with a hat-trick of Championships.
“It would be really fitting if we had a good turnout from the Yorkshire fans to say farewell to Jason Gillespie for the Somerset game, at the same time obviously encouraging the lads to push for a third consecutive County Championship,” said Arthur.
“Jason has been a breath of fresh air since he came to the club, and I’m sure that Colin Graves and Martyn Moxon, who appointed him at the end of 2011, must be pinching themselves now as to how things have turned round for Yorkshire in Championship cricket.
“The club won promotion from the Second Division in Jason’s first year, since when we have finished second in Division One and won back-to-back Championships.
“Whatever happens this season, it’s a phenomenal record, and although we will be paying tribute to Jason at the club’s gala dinner at Headingley on October 6, this is a great opportunity for the members to also say thanks and farewell.”
Yorkshire have lost just five of 78 Championship games under Gillespie, whose extraordinary track record speaks for itself.
For Arthur, his biggest impact has been in the way that he has allowed the players to express themselves and encouraged them to perform with freedom.
“The key thing for me is that he’s empowered the players to go out and do what they do,” said Arthur. “I know that sounds a little bit simplistic, but that is the very essence of what he has enabled them to do.
“I remember when Jonny Bairstow came back after being dropped by England a couple of years ago. Jason’s attitude was: ‘Mate, I know you can play. Go out and do it. And if you need any help, just give us a shout.’
“This was at a time when all the pundits covering Jonny’s every shot were questioning aspects of his technique, and Jason just kept it very simple. Yes, there was a slight modification with Jonny’s pick-up, but, other than that, he just encouraged Jonny to do what he does so well.”
Gillespie will be hard for Yorkshire to replace, not only in a coaching and man-management sense, but also in the way that he has been a top ambassador.
The club’s decision to announce his departure at the end of last month, with it having become common knowledge that Gillespie’s wife and children had already returned to Australia, was to end any potentially distracting speculation.
Arthur reiterated that the search for Gillespie’s replacement would begin in earnest at the end of the season. The club hope to have their new man in place by the end of November.
“We haven’t started the process yet (of looking for a replacement),” said Arthur. “The reason why we wanted to put it out there early about Jason leaving was because we didn’t want any speculation to cloud the last four matches of the season.
“It’s the same now with regard to the process of recruiting a new first XI coach. We’d like to have made the appointment by the end of November, so we can look at other aspects of our build-up to next season.”
Arthur believes that Yorkshire will continue to thrive post-Gillespie, with Moxon and club captain Andrew Gale on hand to ensure a smooth transition.
“I think the processes that Jason has helped to put in place will stay intact after his departure,” said Arthur.
“Andrew Gale’s had a big part to play in our success as well, as has Martyn Moxon with the rest of the coaching staff, and they’ve all made for a formidable team.
“It’s not just one person, but obviously Jason has more than played his part in helping us to achieve great success.”
Yorkshire (from): Lyth, Lees, Ballance, Gale (capt), Lehmann, Bresnan, Rashid, Hodd, Patterson, Brooks, Sidebottom, Plunkett, Willey.