Red-ball coach Jason Gillispie arriving in Pakistan soon

Australian great confirms beginning of journey with Green Shirts

Faizan Lakhani
May 20, 2024
Red-ball coach Jason Gillispie arriving in Pakistan soon
Jason Gillespie seen while coaching cricketers during a training session. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Australian cricket great Jason Gillespie, who has been named Pakistan's head coach for the red-ball cricket, will be joining the Green Shirts soon.

The former cricketer has identified consistency and discipline along with a squad mentality as key to success as he said he was ready to begin his journey with Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, Gillespie also emphasised players’ workload management saying that it is important to not to burn out the players.

Gillespie was appointed Pakistan’s head coach for the longer format of the game, along with Gary Kirsten at the helm for white-ball cricket. The Aussie said he has and will liaise with Kirsten over players' workload management.

He also confirmed that he is arriving in Pakistan soon and there will be a camp for test format players.

“I'll be spending a bit of time in Pakistan and observing players in a domestic environment,” he said when asked if he will be in Pakistan quite often as he has the additional job of the selector.

“I'm looking forward to getting over to Pakistan. We're hoping to have a camp coming up that will incorporate some fitness work, and then some build into our skills, which leads into the two tests against Bangladesh.

"So, putting together what that camp looks like, what the timeframe is, and then we'll go from there, but we're very excited. And I'm looking forward to getting over to Pakistan and meeting everyone at the PCB and meeting all the players,” he added.

The Australian said that his method will include using maximum tools to find out which player is perfect for playing against any certain opposition and at any certain condition.

He also made it clear that there will be a rotation policy to avoid players’ burnout.

“We'll also make sure that we're looking after all our players, particularly our multi-format players, we need to be really careful that we don't burn them out because we want them playing at their very best for Pakistan each and every time they step out onto the park. If that means that players from time to time are going to be rested then so we need to do that,” he said.

“It's not just the actual days on the task, it's training, it's travel and all these things combined. We don't want to burn out our players, we want to make sure that each and every time they walk into the park representing Pakistan, that they're firing, strong, robust, and ready to give it their all. So, that's why we really need a squad mentality.

"We can't rely on the same 11 players to play day in and day out all year, we need to make sure that we've got a squad mentality. I don't want players going in 70% ready for a test match. I'd rather want them to be at their very best to give them the best chance to perform well for Pakistan, which is really important to me,” Gillespie added.

He confirmed that he has already had discussions with white-ball coach Gary Kirsten and selectors regarding this and insisted that the coaching staff needs to be very clear with players as they’re the assets.

“We've got a duty to look after these guys. And if we're just logging in, and playing them in each and every fixture, in three formats, particularly the all-format players, then we'd be setting them up to fail, and we don't want to set anyone up to fail, we want to give our players the best chance to succeed," said the red-ball coach of the Pakistan cricket team.

"And if it means we need to rest them and look after them and give them a break from a series or give them a break from a match here and there.”

Replying to a question, Gillespie said that he knows the byproducts that come with coaching of Pakistan Cricket team and he is coming to this role with his eyes wide open.

“I am a realist and I understand that you can have some bumps in the road from time to time, but hopefully, the plan will be to minimise those and maximise the smooth sailing and that will just come through consistent hard work and discipline. And that's certainly the Pakistan team you'll see that I'm involved in, will be a very committed and disciplined unit,” he stated.

When asked if he is a fan of England's Test cricket brand "Bazball" and would like Pakistan to replicate that, the Australian said that every team plays according to their own strength. He added that he would rather want others to see how Pakistan is playing instead of Pakistan trying to see what others have been doing.

The red-ball head coach of the Pakistan team mentioned that he wants Pakistan cricketers to be adaptive.

“I think it's all about getting together with the playing group and identifying how they want to be perceived, how they want to play style of cricket. So, I'm looking forward to having those conversations with the captain, with the players, with support staff about how we want to play and we ultimately want people looking to us and seeing what we're doing rather than everyone looking to copy others’ styles," he said.

"For us, it is about going out there and being very disciplined, being consistent and if we can if we can nail those two things will go a long way towards playing some very good test cricket."

“What we need to be is very adaptable to whatever conditions and opposition that we're presented with. It might be good in theory to say that we're going to score five runs an over but the situation and the conditions may not allow that to happen. I want us to be a very adaptable team and, be able to adjust and play on different surfaces against different opposition.

I think as long as the players in the dressing room and the coaches in that in our dressing room are really clear on how we want to go about it. I think that's, that's the absolute key for me, just absolute clarity of roles, and go out there and execute our skills,” he said.

Talking about Pakistan’s chances in the ICC Test Championship and being among the top two teams, the coach said that it will be a challenge and Pakistan will be opting for planning one series at a time.

“I mentioned discipline, I mentioned consistency because the talent is there, the skills are there, can we marry up that talent with the work ethic desire, attitude, all these things to make sure that we're giving ourselves the best chance to be successful and I'm confident we can. We want to make sure that we're the best-prepared team that we can possibly be,” he added.

Replying to another question, Jason Gillespie said that Pakistan can always learn from their opponent and they should go in every game with an open mind to observe what good other teams have been doing.

“I'm not going to come in and say we need to play like an Australian team. I want us to play like a Pakistan team. And if we can take some lessons from each and every time, we play against any team, little bits of information that can help us be a better team,” he said.

He said that supporters are the “12th man” of Pakistan team but also urged them to keep supporting the team in thick and thin.

“I want the fans to be proud of this team and be very supportive through thick and thin. We're going to have some really good days, we're going to have some not-so-good days.

"But I urge the Pakistan supporters to get behind the boys and support them as much as they can because the players need that positive energy, if we can have a lot of positive energy and positive vibes from our great supporters, then I think that will rub off on the players.

"If we can have the Pakistan supporters celebrating the team and being part of the team that will certainly help us be successful. There's no doubt that our supporters can be our 12th man, who will be a real great support for the boys, through thick and thin, through good times and bad, if the players know that the supporters are there for them and excited to see the team do well, then you watch the players will really feed off that,” he concluded.