Jason Neil Gillespie is one of those players who played a dominant role in ensuring Aussie supremacy in the early 2000s. Principally, a right-arm quick bowler and an able ally to likes of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath, he was additionally a capable lower-order batsman, with his stubbornness and refusal to throw his wicket away cheaply being a thorn in the flesh for many an opposition.
Gillespie is a descendant on his father's side of the Kamilaroi people of Indigenous Australians subsequently became the first acknowledged aboriginal cricketer to become a Test cricketer.
Gillespie always approached the game with a single-minded determination and aggression and was the bowler who every captain would long to have, when opposition is running away with the game. His ability to bowl long spells and uncanny knack to break partnerships were priceless assets for both Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting, as it ensured that they could adequately rest the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and manage their workloads.
The fast bowler made his Test debut against the West Indies at Sydney in 1996 picking 2/62 in first innings. Nevertheless, it was concisely clear that Gillespie could form a potent new ball attack with Glenn McGrath.
With the emergence of Brett Lee, Australia realized soon that Gillespie could be a perfect foil for the nagging accuracy of McGrath and blistering pace of Lee, thus leading to the formation of a much-famed and hugely successful three-man pace attack, to go with the genius of Warne.
Rise to Glory
His finest hour came when he took 7 for 37 against England at Headingley leading Aussies to a mammoth victory. However, as his career progressed, Gillespie and injuries became synonymous with each other, forcing speedster to bring his pace down.
Despite recurring injuries (which included nasty collision between him and Steve Waugh in 1999), Gillespie managed to cling on to his third pacer role. He had a liking for Sachin Tendulkar, scalping him on many occasions.
With a reasonable defense, Gillespie was sent in as a Night-watchman on various occasions. He dealt with it admirably on most occasions, like the 26 he made in Chennai in 2004 and batted for a long length alongside Damien Martyn that helped Australia to a draw, helped by rain washing out the entire 5th day’s play.
The best was still to come though as he battled his way to an unbeaten 201 against Bangladesh in 2008. This was in fact his first century in first-class cricket.
Ironically, the same Test turned out to be his last appearance for Australia with selectors intent on blooding the younger bowlers in the Test outfit. Gillespie took 259 wickets in 71 Tests (at an average of 26.13) making him Australia's sixth-highest wicket-taker in Tests.
He soon joined the now-defunct Indian Cricket league and subsequently, was out of the reckoning for the National team.
Post-retirement, the Australian was involved in improving Cricket in Zimbabwe at the grassroots level. Later, he worked as bowling coach of IPL team Kings XI Punjab in 2011.
He had a great run with Yorkshire where he started his coaching in 2011 and went on to win the County Championship in 2014 and 2015. He also led the Adelaide Strikers to their maiden Big Bash League title in 2018.
With his truckload of experience and astute knowledge of the game, Gillespie seems destined to have a great coaching career.