Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, a Yorkshire overseas player in 2006 and 2007, has been appointed as Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s new 1st Team Coach. The 36-year-old, currently coaching the Mid West Rhinos franchise in Zimbabwe, will work closely with Director of Professional Cricket Martyn Moxon and spearheads a new coaching team which also includes Paul Farbrace as 2nd Team Coach. Ian Dews, previously Director of Cricket Operations since 2007, takes the new role of Director of Cricket Development and will be assisted by Richard Damms who has been appointed as the new Development Manager.
Yorkshire’s Director of Professional Cricket, Martyn Moxon, is very happy with the men he’s appointed to work underneath him at the Club: “I think we’ve got an excellent blend of experience and now it’s all done I’m looking forward to the future with a coaching team that can work together as a strong unit and provide the players with the environment they can flourish in. The most important thing for me is we work as a team of coaches.”
And Moxon believes that Jason Gillespie is the ideal man to take on the role of 1st Team Coach: “I received good reports from Australia about Jason Gillespie’s coaching so far in his career. He’s been in charge of Mid West Rhinos in Zimbabwe so he has experience of managing a team. He’ll be in charge of the day-to-day running of the 1st Team with the captain. He has a vast playing experience, played in one of the best teams there has ever been and he’s talking from a position of strength as far as the bowling coaching side of things goes. I’m delighted that he’s joining us and he’s got experience of the Club. He’s an unassuming kind of guy, but one that loves to share his knowledge, particularly with younger players. I’m sure he’s going to do a fantastic job.”
Jason Gillespie is excited by the challenges and opportunities that his appointment as 1st Team Coach bring: “I saw the job advertised and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to further my coaching career at Yorkshire where I had a couple of great seasons as a player. To be able to go back there in a coaching capacity is a fantastic opportunity. It’s the right time in my coaching career after being fortunate enough to have had two seasons with the Mid West Rhinos in Zimbabwe. Now the opportunity has come up to be involved in county cricket there’s no better place than Yorkshire. I’m really looking forward to settling in Leeds and getting stuck in. I’ve made this choice to go down the coaching path, which I really enjoy, and when opportunities like being a 1st Team Coach at Yorkshire you don’t turn them down.”
The Yorkshire public warmed to Gillespie as a player with a huge pedigree as an extremely successful Test player in arguably the best Australian side of all time, but what does he bring back to Headingley as a coach? “The one thing I’ll be bringing to Yorkshire is a bit of fun and enjoyment, but making sure that our preparation is spot on leaving no stone unturned. I’m a big believer in nailing the basics of the game and having clear and concise game plans so the players can go out and perform their skills to the best of their ability. I’m convinced that’s the way to win cricket matches.”
Gillespie continued: “Yorkshire underachieved last year and I’m sure everyone is disappointed, but what that does now is create an opportunity for this group of players to show how good they are. There’s a lot of young guys coming through alongside a few experienced players and it’s about going out there and doing the basics very well, with a bit of enjoyment and play some positive cricket. I’ll be really pushing for result cricket and I’m willing to risk a loss in order to win games. I believe that this Yorkshire squad is capable of winning a lot of cricket matches.”
Yorkshire captain, Andrew Gale, said: “It’s exciting times for the Club. The structure has probably needed looking at for a few years now and we’ve got a good structure in place now. It frees up Martyn Moxon to be more of a Director of the Club and with Jason Gillespie taking over the running of the 1st Team it’s a good move. I had a great relationship with Dizzy when he was at the Club. He’s a good bloke to have around. He’s a guy that’s played at the highest level and I’m sure the players will have the ultimate respect for him when he comes in. He’ll have the chance to make his mark on Yorkshire cricket as a coach, not just as a player when he was here.”
Paul Farbrace (44), a wicket-keeper with Kent and Middlesex between 1987 and 1995, has bags of experience as a coach. He was one of the original national coaches for the ECB, was the Assistant National Coach with Sri Lanka and had two seasons as 1st Team Coach at Kent. Of the appointees, Farbrace is the one man without experience of either playing or working for the Club previously.
Martyn Moxon believes having a coach from outside of the Yorkshire set-up will prove to be an asset within the new structure: “Someone from outside of Yorkshire is always a good thing I think. He’ll give a different perspective on things and Paul has vast experience of coaching at all levels and has coached at Academy, 2nd XI and 1st XI level and with Sri Lanka. His wicket-keeping skills are something we haven’t had a lot of in recent times, so Paul brings the whole package and he’s a good guy as well so I’m sure he will be a good addition to the staff and hopefully the players will thrive under him.”
So what brings Farbrace to Yorkshire County Cricket Club? He says: ““It’s a great move for me. I know a lot about Yorkshire cricket, a lot about the players and I know there’s a lot of history and tradition associated with the Club, so for me it’s an absolutely fantastic move.”
Farbrace is very clear on Yorkshire’s appeal to him at this stage in his career: “ There are three things that appealed to me about Yorkshire. It’s a big Club – a fantastic Club and if you’re interested in cricket in England then Yorkshire County Cricket Club has always been at the forefront. I think the players that Yorkshire have produced ever since I’ve been watching cricket – there’s always been lots of Yorkshire cricketers playing for England – it’s a massive hotbed of cricket in the country. And the other thing that attracted me to the job was the chance to work with Martyn Moxon – I feel that I’ve still got a lot to learn about coaching and someone like Martyn can be fantastic for me. I’m excited by the Club in so many ways. It doesn’t matter whether you’re coaching 1st Team or 2nd Team – it’s coaching cricketers and that’s what I enjoy most and I’m really looking forward to getting started now.”
The final fresh face of the new coaching structure is Richard Damms. Damms will support Ian Dews in the development of future Yorkshire cricketers. Martyn Moxon feels the duo can work together well in giving the mass of young talent in Yorkshire every chance of success: “Obviously Ian has a lot of experience working at that level. He has huge knowledge of the rules and regulations with regard to the ECB and the Academy and it’s amazing the amount of work that he gets through behind the scenes. He’s also a very good coach in his own right. He’s worked with 1st XI players and spent a lot of time with Jacques Rudolph when he was with us.”
Moxon continued: “Richard Damms is a bright young coach who has been involved with Yorkshire’s age-group teams and the Academy for a number of years. I think he’s an ideal assistant for Ian. He’s excited about his appointment, he’s very keen to learn and he will get better and better as he grows in experience.”
Richard Damms (40), the new Development Manager, said: “I’ve been coaching a long time and I’ve always tried to put myself in positions where I’d learn as much as I can from other good coaches just in case there ever was an opportunity to pursue a dream of coaching full-time. Fortunately enough this job came up and I fully intend to follow the good work that’s gone before because I think we’ve got a fantastic set-up youth-wise at Yorkshire. I’ve been doing this role to some extent as an assistant and helping out at weekends and on an evening, but now I’ll be able to do that more often!”
Andrew Gale believes it is now time to put the 2011 season behind his side and to move the Club forward and upwards: “This is a line in the sand for us now. There’s been plenty of talk amongst the boys on how we can move forward. The Board has got together and made some plans. Last season was a disappointment and hopefully we can move on from that now. Everyone is excited about the new coaching structure, about the new guys coming in and hopefully we can take Yorkshire back where it belongs and that is in Division One.”